Housing

37 homes, Seine-Rive-Gauche development zone, Paris

Paris

1999-2002

Two ‘cubist’ towers, unusual for their human scale (6 and 8 floors, 4 and 6 apartments per floor), settle into the ‘urban landscape’ of the Masséna development zone. Linked by footbridges, the towers are demonstrably friendly and sociable, a tangible proof of their concern for human interaction and user experience.

The brief defined a mix of scales, styles and ways of living. Reviving the architectural freedom of expression of Paris’ old 13th arrondissement neighbourhoods, which results from a mix of influx and sedimentation, this project makes new links with history.

Transparency, light, and sun are ensured by breaking built volumes into a series of small, independent buildings, with double aspect views onto interior courtyard gardens. The play of structural details – a belt of lacquered steel tubes that pierce the floor slabs, and the play of materials – alternating rough and smooth, matt and shiny, stainless steel, zinc and brightly coloured glass, are reminiscent of an abstract impressionist collage.