To build on a vacant site in Paris requires an infill that is in harmony with the existing urban fabric and this is what can be seen in this housing project by MAO – Mobile Architectural Office. The building has 25 private and social housing units and a 35-crib nursery.
The project is situated on Rue Orfila, a typical neighborhood street that historically was known as rue des Hautes-Gâtines in the Commune de Charonne. The architects built with this historical context in mind and the project is an episode in a series that brings existing built volumes in conversation with the uses and materials of their contexts. The project reinterprets the porch of the Parisian courtyard, the courtyard principle that receives daylight and natural ventilation. Throughout this process, it reveals a planted block center that is in contrast with the street elevation.
Ph. Nicolas Grosmond
A rare site in the Parisian urban fabric.
The project is sited on a rectangular plot with unique characteristics since it is bordered by both a protected green space and unobstructed views towards the Père Lachaise Cemetery. Many of the viewpoints from the housing units and outdoor spaces are consequently laid out towards this imposing landscape, a luxury within the built density of Paris.
The site layout originates from the architect’s desire to keep the view and to maximize sunshine for all housing units; the landscape is drawn into the center of the project. The units provide residents with a living environment turned towards nature, oriented South towards the protected green space. This willingness to open up to nature is reinforced by a second factor in that the architects wanted to build in alignment with the existing housing to minimize its impact on the neighborhood. In order to provide maximum visual openings, the last two floors of the building were developed as two separate entities. Careful attention was given to the proposed landscape within the block.
Extensive common outdoor spaces.
Most of the housing units have extensive outdoor spaces, adequately proportioned for daily domestic use. On the first and second floors, in front of the insulated façade, sliding timber panels create the planted atmosphere. The panels allow the amount of daylight to vary according to desires and needs while providing residents with privacy. A privileged space is created by setting the upper floor decks away from the edge.
The adjoining building façades are fairly classic with a gridlike form and a strong materiality through the use of brick. The architects wanted to evoke these characteristics and built a façade with quality durable materials: clad in a brick veneer, its grid uses some of the elements of neighboring façades.
Ph. Courtesy OGIC
DATE: 2012-2019 / LOCATION: 42-44 rue Orfila, Paris, France / AREA: 873 m2 (site) 1830 m2 (built) / PROGRAM: 25 private and social housing units and 35-crib nursery / STATUS: Built / DESIGN: MAO – Mobile Architectural Office (Fabien Brissaud, Aurélien Ferry) / CLIENT: OGIC/Domaxis / PHOTOS: Nicolas Grosmond or Courtesy OGIC