Due to the restrictive environment (boulevard des Maréchaux, SNCF railway lines), the urban specifications recommended the construction of imposing buildings, easily read from the middle-distance and capable of holding their own against the scale of the area whilst providing protection for the project’s internal garden and the surrounding, medium-height buildings.
The building volume is thus of importance: 34 metres of facade for E2 and 31 metres for E3. These two buildings, each containing 29 apartments, are separated by a 10m wide void which opens a perspective towards the existing Opéra Comique. To either side of this void, the glazed transparency of the buildings’ entrance halls leads through to the discovery of the historic building. The western end of E2 opens on to a small-scale public square, leading towards the local schools. The full height of this gable end is treated in a series of large, glazed bays which offer residents of these apartments a long vista towards Porte d’Asnières. Commercial activities at ground level, enliven the square.
For the elevations facing the boulevard, the necessity for an effective acoustic shield, capable of generating a living, animated facade, led to the adoption of a double-skinned ‘wall’ enclosing 1.5m deep loggias, equipped on their external face with sliding glass screens. The internal window is comprised of two glazed panels with integrated curtain. The whole system reaches an acoustic separation of 42 dBa whilst allowing natural light to enter and the apartments to benefit from a view of Paris. These facades are constructed in metal and glass. The interior facades are treated differently and respond to a search for unity with the other buildings of the ZAC through their use of brick. The facade at the centre of the block steps back in three stages from a width of 14.5m at it’s base, through 12.5m to a summit of 9.5m. Each of these step backs is treated as a separate entity architecturally. At ground floor level, private terraces give way to landscaped areas leading towards two ‘magnolia grandiflora’ at the passage between the two buildings.
The plan layout is one of dual orientated apartments, facing both south-east on to boulevard and north-west on to the interior gardens.