Metek Architecture had a very unique vision for a multi-use complex located in the 19th arrondissement of Paris.
Encompassing 31 social housing units and 7 artist studios, the new project invents a new style to otherwise staid courtyard living by audaciously using copper-gold cladding. The intent was to construct a link with the historic buildings, while still announcing a contemporary upgrade.
The new plan puts a large central courtyard at the core, which not only connects the entire ground floor, but also allows light to penetrate between the bulk of the buildings. What this courtyard also does is encourage neighbours to interact with each other and also provides a physical continuity between the rest of the plots.
This courtyard looks like a large pedestrian street that wends its way into a print shop through huge doors. The paving used is an ode to an old French villa and links all the structures through the ground floor.
Intersecting the buildings are terraces, galleries, corridors and balconies covered in timber decking, which is a deliberate alteration in material, meant to unconsciously mark the path one follows to the entrance of
The brand new roofs are beautifully proportioned in scale to sit in harmony with the old buildings. However, to stand out and play with the concept of modernity, the new parts are clad in an alloy of copper and aluminium, called copper gold. These panels that go all the way up to the roof echo the customary use of zinc in Paris, and shine to glimmer in the sunlight.
The roofs also house photovoltaic and solar panels that supply green energy and domestic hot water to the residents. Furthermore, a new ‘suburban Parisian’ edifice has been added to the front elevation with an old printshop to the rear.
The exterior of the building that overlooks the street has been left as is, but on the side that faces the courtyard, the windows have been moved down and an arrangement of balconies and exterior passageways have been adjoined. The face of the old printshop has been totally rebuilt in accordance with historical documentation, although a second floor has been added.
This new complex emphasises the social interactions of life with the deliberate planning of the balconies in front of the central courtyard. The overall construct coaxes its denizens to connect with each other, thus creating a sense
Text By Natalie Pedder-Bajaj