On a former industrial site in Fives, a suburb of northern France's Lille, a large residential complex designed by Xaveer De Geyter Architects (XDGA) was completed in August 2022. The project is a starting point and blueprint for the transformation of the area into an urban environment that retains traces of its past.
Designed by XDGA, the building block accommodates a mix of with homes and service apartments for seniors with some space for retail, hospitality and community facilities on the first floor. The new building offers a total of 10,000 m2 of floor space.
The architecture firm obtained the commission for the design after winning a competition in 2016. Construction of the complex began in early 2020.
Point of reference
The site, Fives Cail Babcock, is an extensive former industrial area in a suburb of Lille. The ambition for the area is to transform it into an ecological and urban environment, preserving traces of its past. Old industrial buildings will be preserved and given a new purpose.
The building block concerns the first plot within the entire transformation of the area. The volumetric articulation and scale of the project provide a reference point for the transformation of the heritage and also suggest a new scale for the future neighborhood, explains the architectural firm.
The building block follows the complete edge of the lot, which totals 3,050 m2. In the middle, XDGA, inspired by the old beguinages in Flanders, has carved out a large rectangular space. This courtyard is intended as a sheltered, green interior space where residents can meet.
Around the courtyard stretches a transparent gallery that divides and guides traffic flows along the collective program; at the same time, it acts as a filter between inside and outside.
Furthermore, the architectural firm made several cuts in the block for the purpose of passage and sightlines. This created differently shaped volumes, over which the residential program is divided: the service apartments for seniors in a number of lower volumes, and the apartments in the tower, which rises above the block as a vertical accent.