UNITÉ(S) is an experimental project developed by Sophie Delhay in Dijon that undermines some common preconceptions and stereotypes about housing. This project addresses the subject of housing from the angle of the room and the designation of spaces.
© Bertrand Verney Photographe
Considering housing as a collection of identical size rooms that are freely networked without hierarchy and assignment leads to an emancipated vision of human relationships. According to their type—studio, 1, 2, 3, or 4 bedrooms—the apartments are composed of a number of same-sized rooms. A function is not assigned to these rooms a priori: the inhabitants are free to arrange their homes as they please and adapt it to their way of living.
As a whole, this apartment building is made of 240 rooms, corresponding to 2 studios, 12 one-bedroom, 16 two-bedrooms, 10 three bedrooms, and 1 common multipurpose room. Each room measures 13 sqm, a standard surface that gives universality and flexibility to the dwellings. This basic unit corresponds to the difference in area between typologies—studio 32 sqm > one bedroom 45 sqm, two bedrooms 65 sqm > three bedrooms 78 sqm. Moreover, 13 sqm is bigger than an average bedroom and exceeds the surface of a living room when combined with the central room.
Along with the kitchen, the only other fixed space is a central room that is tacitly assigned to function as a dining room, vestibule, or office. Depending on the location of the living room, each apartment can have three different schemes: crossed, diagonal, or grouped. The perfect fluidity of the plan and the possible triple configuration of the apartments is made possible by a key element: the oversized passages that move from one room to another. All of the rooms are accessed through the central room. The 1.20 meters wide passages put in visual and spatial connection all the rooms of the apartment while wooden sliding doors can be closed to separate them.
This flexibility also requires several adjustments so that each room can offer the highest standards. Blinds and shutters have been designed so that total black can be obtained in all the rooms, as required for bedrooms. The glazed window area is generous and similar in each room. Electrical equipment is provided to satisfy all occupations.
Storage and custom-made closets are also installed in all rooms. The windows are transformed into inhabited façades. On the garden side, the window is placed in an alcove encircled by wooden cupboards and a coffer on which it is possible to sit or lie down and enjoy the yard. Facing the street, a curtain system is offset from the façade and creates a buffer space between the home and the city. In addition, each apartment has a terrace or a loggia which corresponds to a real outdoor room of 13 sqm. A community space and a large outdoor terrace complete the building.
© Bertrand Verney Photographe
DATE: 2019 / LOCATION: 49 bis avenue de Stalingrad, Eco-quartier Via Romana, Dijon, France / AREA: 2800 m2 (built) / PROGRAM: 240 rooms (40 modular housing units) and one common space / STATUS: built / DESIGN: Sophie Delhay Architecte / TEAM: EVP, B52, VPEAS, VERDI, Clara Berthet & JDM Paysagistes / CLIENT: Grand Dijon Habitat / PHOTOS: © Bertrand Verney Photographe