Project for housing and daycare facilities, situated in the north of Paris, in the Claude Bernard urban development. Placed between the Saint-Denis canal and the railroad tracks of Gare de l'Est, the footprint is on the forefront of the urban block. We conceived our project as a powerful statement, a landmark for the community. The challenge was to produce a simple programmatic structure of high-end, appealing housing facilities which would become the showcase of the transformation of the neighborhood from its old industrial nature to an actual, dynamic, urban residential profile. Nevertheless, the specificity of the site and its pronounced character call for boldness. How could we be both bold and moderate? How could we reconcile the strong statement of a dynamic landmark with a need for humility?
The answer is an intelligent, narrative building skin, capable of protecting the intimacy of the residents as well as projecting a strong image on the forefront. We conceived a sharp interactive surface which is far more than a simple curtain; it defines the interaction between the private and the public sphere in order to protect the first, filter and optimize the latter. This golden veil that folds as it wraps the building, is there to protect from the visual and sound grievances, to open up generous vistas by forming loggias. It produces a radiant volume that becomes the figurehead of a generous and peaceful living environment. By retracting from the alignment of the canal bank, the volume generates a generous space, a sort of buffer zone between the private and the common areas. The nursery breaks free from the main volume, to interact with the canal and remains “protected” from the nuisances (mostly noise from the railroad) which are lessened by the reflective golden skin of the building.
Furthermore, the building offers an eloquent landmark figure that emphasizes the unique qualities and high market value of the housing project as well as providing a generous modular space for the activities of the children who will attend the daycare center.