23 intermediate housing units on the Ourcq canal

23 intermediate housing units on the Ourcq canal

Architect
Karawitz Architecture
Location
Paris, France
Project Year
2016
Category
Shops

Apartments
©SCHNEPP RENOU

How an intermediate housing project inherited the ambitions of a cohousing project

Karawitz Architecture as Architects

The intermediate housing project developed by the KARAWITZ agency now comprises 23 flats, a restaurant, a garden and a parking lot. It was built for OGIF, a property developer specialising in intermediate housing. One of the particularities of this project is that it had inherited the ambitions of a prior cohousing project by the name of “Diapason project”. It originally scheduled 14 homes, a common studio and shops. This first project did not use up all the floor area ratio given by the local masterplan... or the potential for the architects to provide supplementary homes in the final project.


The lot is well known to Parisians, especially those prone to stroll beside the Ourcq canal. A few hundred meters before the Parc de la Villette, on the quay de Marne, it overlooks the water and slides between the streets of the Meurthe and the Ourcq on each side of which it draws a triangle. Amplifying its singularity, this plot is served by an upper level of rue de l’Ourcq, at the opening of a pedestrian bridge over the canal, while it leans down to street level in rue de Meurthe. Finally it offers the rare opportunity to Paris, to develop an autonomous building without adjoining or neighboring properties, and generate both a garden to the south and exceptional views to the north.


The building permit obtained in October 2011 as part of the project developed at the time by KARAWITZ was kept to scale with two modifications. The imbrication between the Z shaped duplex apartments and the L shaped flats were dropped from the current project, but it inherits the spine of the project and a connecting channel to the garden offering transparency. It houses a staircase which allows for the serving of four apartments with generous sized landings and high levels of bioclimatic spaces illuminated naturally. On the front side, or the one overlooking the canal oriel windows on both large and small apartments from the old project have evolved into balconies in the new one.


The former common-room has been transformed into independent living. The proposed typologies are one bedroom and two bedrooms overlooking the canal or the garden plus attic flats offering a more singular variation. All of them are doubly oriented and benefit from a balcony. On the canal side some windows are fitted with glass spandrels to perpetuate the idea of its inherent diversity to the initial project and to provide the living rooms plunging views over the water. A brewery and a shop opened there in 2016.


The structural choices focused on a concrete structure and exterior insulation. The fault is covered in reflective coatings while the remainder of the coating is made of darken wood. This exterior moldings contrast with inner window frames made of wood or aluminum. Finally the “dancing” sloping roofs coated with zinc generate a very sculptural form. This project meets the requirements of the Climate Plan.

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