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.
16 SOCIAL HOUSING UNITS in Charleville-Mézières, France by a/LTA architectes urbanistes
January 22nd, 2015 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: a/LTA architectes urbanistes
We work on a firmly contemporary, contextual and reactive architecture. Each of our architectural answers are heading towards an originality specific to the project, complying with the program and the project’s surroundings On every proposal, we specifically work on the context. We are particularly interested in closed, distant, historical and sociological background of the project. These datas «are nourishing» architecture. As the contexts in which we evolve are rarely homogeneous, our writing tends to be hybrid.
The analysis has to highlight the specificities of the place, to draw from its urban, sociological and climatic background to offer a specific answer to the question asked. We are keeping in mind the human-being value as governing principle of our thought.
The installation site and more widely the Promenade de Warenne in the district of Manchester (urban refurbishment) in Charleville-Mézières, has exceptional qualities and very good views on very far landscape.
The presence of luxuriant vegetation , the soft topography from North to South are typical of a site with particular specificities that it is better to respect, to emphasize through the architecture, the volumetry. Instinctively, we thought of centring views, of offering favorable orientations.
From the outside, houses in strips are playing with the transparency, the porosities on the landscape. The vegetalized roofs are deleting the limit between constructed masses and distant surroundings. The design of the project is based on a first intention: to offer a layout which is in harmony with the particularities of the territory.
We shall work on a “landscape project” in continuity with the urban intentions of the sector ANRU (developed by the City of Charleville-Mézières and the urban planner François Daune).
While respecting and integrating the intimacy of inhabitants, the project aims to offer a balance between the residents. It is pleasant and inviting and is generating meetings. The use of high-quality materials promotes the “ well-being together “. Our answer to the program means creation of collective practices and social link while respecting people’s autonomy.
PROJECT / INTENTIONS
Our first intention was to protect existing vegetation on the site, while working on an architectural development in continuity with the urban intentions of the area (North / South pedestrian ways) and leaning on the school equipment (North of the site). So, the urban network is extended to the site and bends itself to welcome the program. Furthermore, we imagined this site, as a territory with its own urban rules. A principle of privative accesses by transverse alleys is created…. Another orientation was to work on the thickness / porosities, on sets of filters between units, gardens and common spaces.
The project is adding 3 strips of two adjoining buildings separated by semipublic alleys. These constituted houses slide according to the limits on avenues Dehuz and Warenne. The alternation of the slopes of roofs constitutes the confirmation of this work in strips which opens on the sports plain of Warenne to the South of the site. Next the internal alleys a set of wooden grids (height of the ground floor 2.70m) filters the views and protects the gardens but allows the exchanges, the link between the neighbors. Fences in the South of gardens will gradually be colonized by a luxuriant vegetation protective from the outer looks.
Everything here is built on the same principles, on the same “vocabulary”. The wooden grids decline in regular interval the wooden skin’s blades of houses (one on two).and extend uninterrupted, integrating small doors of electric blocks. We dealt with the facades in a homogeneous way, as a whole, without distinction of programming ( small or big accommodation).
POROSITIES / VIEWS
We want to limit frontality effects in order to materialize the depth, the porosities. This work allows to structure the layout of the public and semi public places, in particular the Boulevard Dehuz and the Promenade de la Warenne with alleys crossing the plot. In this way, a soft transition happens from the public area to the intimacy of housing.
We looked for views and best orientations for every housing units. On the contrary, we shall work to minimize the impact of our buildings in the landscape and regarding the close background. Each dwelling is directed southward, towards the big landscape, towards the Meuse (River).
MATERIALS / EQUIPMENTS
The facades’ durability is guaranteed by the quality of easycare and sustainable materials. The project plans the construction of 16 individual housing with wooden framework. The structural principles are simple:
– Walls with wooden framework
– wooden / concrete floors
– wooden framework
– windows PVC / ALU (100 % of South facades)
– wooden skin
– Vegetalized roofs
-staircases and protections galvanized steel
We attempts to define what is privacy, what is privacy for housing, but to materialize a collective management and common appropriations of transitional spaces. Every housing benefit of good orientation toward the South. They all have two orientations in order to improve natural ventilation. Facades are widely glazed, housing units are bright, resolutely turned to the outside. The landscape enters into living rooms. So, every living space extends to an adjoining outside space, including for first level flats. It is an “outside living-room “.
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