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The 38 social housing units at 10/12 rue Bonnet in the city of Clichy-la-Garenne completed for Efidis (social housing landlord) are located at the doorstep of Paris, along the périphérique beltway.
At the edge of the capital and its inner suburbs, they look towards both the Clichy-Batignolles district and the new high court designed by Renzo Piano, and the greater Paris area. Inside and out, they embody the metropolitan issue of eliminating borders. The architects seem to have set a roadmap to relay the dynamism that characterizes the urban development zone of Batignolles in a disparate environment. It is this double relationship with the city dictating the physiognomy of the building that seems to transcend the limits of the périphérique to connect two different urbanities towards a common future.
The multifamily-housing building sets a unique standard of a new neighborhood, which will mark the threshold of Clichy-la-Garenne, the aptly named urban developement zone of “entrance of the city”.
Constructions can climb up to 10 stories allowing the building to overlook a large part of its surroundings. Through this emergence it approaches Paris and its attempts of achieving great heights. The southeast facade on perforated metal vibrates with its louvered shutters and echoes the activity of the city and the speed of the périphérique.
Located on the elbow of Bonnet street, the building takes part to the composite fabric of Clichy-la-Garenne, starting by its street and its numerous buildings in brick of varied color, which emerged over time. To begin this dialogue, the northwest and southwest facades feature a dark red ‘Lucca’ brick full with vivid joints which, in addition to giving its name to the residence, signs the resolutely contemporary look of the building.
To render this brick facade even more vibrant, an array of ornamentation connects two expressions of the city, that of the capital and that of the suburbs. A motif in Art deco tones, two crossing diamonds, originates from the overhanging and recessing of brick headers on one side, and through largescale metal perforations on the other.
On the ground floor facing the street, the facade alternates large spans of brick with glass-covered surfaces such as the entrance and the commercial space. The moucharabiehs, attained from the spacing between bricks, roam to create intimate spaces or ventilate premises with a transparency that only allows to glance in from certain angles. The hall, in turn, acts as transition between the exterior and the interior by allowing to view from the sidewalk into the garden at the heart of the lot.
The units also entertain this ambiguity of rapport to the gigantism of the city or the intimacy of their street by opening to the heart of the lot through balconies and loggias, which hide behind the perforated metal, or through loggias cut into the brick facing the street. Each apartment has at least a double exposure: by multiplying the exposure of each unit the project transforms the natural light contributions in order to connect the interior with its environment. This also multiplies the viewpoints on an ever-changing city that builds upon itself and extends its borders to regenerate its identity.