Porte de Montmartre 84 accommodations, a social center, a day nursery, a library and a community center

[ architectes ] babin + renaud as Architects

In Paris it's no longer a time for ring-roads but of stitching an urban fabric.

An example of this is the building with 84 accommodations and four public facilities delivered by Babin+Renaud. It marks the start of urbanization and neighborhood life along the broad Avenue de la Porte de Montmartre. Its break down into plots made it possible to avoid the fortress effect imposed by the required scheduling and the program's considerable surface area (over 10,000 sq. m) by designing urban porosities and transparencies towards the center of the plot.

Urban Porosity and Transparency

Standing between Paris' Boulevard Ney and the Périphérique (ring-road), Avenue de la Porte de Montmartre delineates the western boundary of the Binet neighborhood.

Since 2009 this is where the city of Paris and the town hall of the 18th arrondissement have been engaged in extensive work to rekindle the dynamics and balance of a district still considered out of the, despite its being a future hub of the Grand Paris project. Profoundly mixed, this vast operation combines briefs for proximity, public housing (134) and private apartments but also several demolitions and reconstructions. The latter had an impact on the agency's project brief, for the inhabitants of one demolished high-rise by the périphérique were rehoused here, whereas the community center and the library are reconstructions.

Delivered in January, 2014 by Babin+Renaud, the building contains 84 accommodations and four public facilities: a day nursery, a library, a community center and a social center. The main issue was to speak to the city in an environment highly influenced by its proximity to the périphérique. Avenue de la Porte de Montmartre is a source of sound and chemical pollution, and the length of the plot resulted in a very long façade. So how could natural light be brought into the heart of the facilities? How to respect the configuration of the avenue while preserving the qualities of use and domesticity required by the brief?

The architects decided to combine a sequence of quality entrances for the inhabitants while maintaining full opening to the facilities along the avenue. Organizing into blocks thus made it possible to differentiate each facility by alternating empty spaces directly above which entrances to the accommodations were placed and recessed from the street. The building is composed of four blocks and three empty spaces through which extensive exterior spaces were developed. Walk-through terraces, protected from the noise of the périphérique by glass partitions, have been located both on the ground level and in the upper floors. Three of the four blocks are identical and on the garden side feature recesses that that enhance the natural sunlight into the facilities located at the base.

The fourth block is distinctive because of its location at the corner of the Avenue de la Porte de Montmartre and rue Binet. This singular location is underlined by its slender volume which highlights the corner and gives an urban character to a building that is nonetheless very contemporary. This building's location stresses the avenue's linearity by faithfully following its slope while the more diffuse back is occupied by extruded volumes.

The facilities on the lower floors at the base with balconies and terraces on the upper floor accommodations.

A hub

Four blocks and three empty spaces

The facilities are distributed and organized according to their use and the specific needs that derive from them. Each occupies the first two floors of a block and possibly a part of the basement. The library stands on the corner in a special place to attract the general public and address the whole neighborhood. Inside the building runs along a gallery on two levels expressed in depth by the rhythm of the structure with a wide opening onto a garden. The ground floor is devoted to lending activities, periodicals and children, while the quieter upper floor is more conducive to study. The community center is placed on the project's opposite corner across from the future office building. Taking advantage of the street's slope, it spreads over two and a half floors around a stairwell leading to sewing workshops, a dojo and a dance room.

The social center and the day nursery are in the middle of the plot with the social center still accessible from the street. Stretching along the eastern façade, the day nursery enjoys exceptional brightness and a terrace protected by a generous sun visor that protrudes 8 meters out from the building. The 84 accommodations are distributed in the upper floors in each block around naturally lit landings in three of the four blocks. Each accommodation has double or triple exposure and a terrace looking out over the garden. Each floor contains two-, three- or four-room apartments at each of the building's corners. Because of the more restricted regulatory prospect, there are four two-room penthouses on top.

To counter the noise pollution and out of respect for urban harmony, the agency placed a 70-cm thick façade of pivoting glass panels in front of the acoustic picture windows along the avenue. Inside the accommodations these picture windows, placed bare outside, provide a deep window frame in thick painted-wood. The entire façade thus makes a genuine protective interface enabling a relationship of generous openness between the noisy city and the accommodations' interior. On the garden side, the smooth façade of cement panels masks all window and door frame openings of the wood-aluminum variety.

The project meets the strict environmental requirements as seen by its being awarded various certifications, i.e. Habitat & Environnement A-profile, Low-energy consumption building and Plan Climat de Paris.

This pioneering building in the Binet neighborhood promises to become one of the area's most important landmarks while offering its residents comfort of use removed from the environmental drawbacks that continue to exist.

84 accommodations and 4 public facilities

16-30, avenue de la Porte de Montmartre, the Binet neighborhood, 75018 Paris


Accommodations: 5,316 m² of floor space (fs)– 3x1 rooms, 24x2 rooms, 33x3 rooms, 18x4 rooms, 6x5 rooms

Library Jacqueline de Romilly 1,220m² fs

A community center: 1,034 m² fs

A social center: 432 m² fs

A day nursery: 192 m² fs

Structural Engineering Consultancy: EVP ingénierie

HVAC Engineering Consultancy: CFERM

Construction Economics: Tohier

Floor space: 10,296 sq m

Schedule: 2008-2014

Low-energy Building certificate / Plan Climat Ville de Paris

Cost: 19,137,000 euros

General contractor: SICRA

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