Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Coral House in Geneva, Switzerland by group8
June 1st, 2011 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: group8
The Coral house is located in the Chandieu area, formed by a large urban block surrounded by Rue Giuseppe-Motta, Grand-Pré and Chandieu. The site is accessible by the main road Grand-Pré, this avenue lined with trees, cuts straight though the building block. The future underground parking will be accessible by the entrance of the adjacent building, the Azure center, located on the Grand-Pré road.
This new housing estate takes part of the regeneration of a former industrial site and completes, together with the Bamboo Residence, a large city block. At the intersection of the avenue and the Chandieu road, a public square supplemented by a fountain and a sculpture will be built in collaboration between the artiste Fabric Gygi and the architectural office ADR.
The building consists of 6 floors, including a double attic (duplex apartments) and a single basement level. Coral house offers 58 housing units, from 4 to 6 room flats (kitchen counted as a room). The ground floor and the first floor are dedicated to commercial activities.
The construction aims to high quality standards in terms of space and equipments, as well as construction materials and coating. It also seeks the MINERGIE label, by using optimum insulation for the exterior envelope, and highly efficient technical installations (heating is provided by geothermal heat pumps; double flux air system is distributed through the ceiling – ERV). The use of a high energy standard allowed use to obtain 10 % additional net surface, compared to what was requested by the neighborhood plan.
The façade on the road front is entirely glazed, exposing the living rooms to the outside giving the impression that the building has been cut or like section in a doll house. The clients specifically asked for a building without balconies, the most suited solution capable to give an impression of the exterior was to have sizable sliding windows offering the possibility to open large sections of the façade. In the courtyard, each room is indicated by a window perforated in a roughcast wall with exterior insulation. The internal organization of the flats has been developed as typological system, which puts the hall in the center of the plan, allowing it to distribute all the rooms. The volume of the attic is designed as an object on a pedestal, its aluminum materialization tends to blend in with the sky.
Structural work elements
The structural system was sized not only to ensure stability of the building – including all seismic measurements-, but also to ensure a greater sound insulation between apartments but also between the apartments and the common areas. Therefore all bearing walls and slabs generally have a greater thickness than needed for regular stability requirements of the buildings.
All thermal insulation in the facades and roof has been sized to meet the MINERGIE label values, with a clear aim to reduce energy consumption and lower costs for consumers. All windows in the courtyard were designed as «breathable» windows, meaning: coated aluminum frames with thermal breaks, last generation double glazing, with an additional third glass placed on the exterior in order to provide a ventilated space with a motorized window shade.
Heating and ventilation
The production of the heating and hot water is produced by a heat pumps supplied by geothermal boreholes. The apartment heating is a low temperature floor heating. The coils embedded in the concrete subflooring are fed by a dispenser located in the lobby, which modulates the temperature in each room based on their exposure or their size. In summer, the same network of coils can be supplied with cold water for cooling of the premises.
The ventilation is a type of «double flow system», fresh air (filtered, dusted, moisturized if necessary, heated) is prepared in the central and then fed into each room through a system in the ceiling located above the sanitary and hall. Meanwhile stale air, taken through the sanitary, is returned to central, where its heat is recovered by a heat exchanger, before being discharged. This way, the air quality inside the housing is guaranteed at any time, without obligation to open the windows, and energy loss by ventilation is minimized.