Architecture firm Christ & Gantenbein, in collaboration with Margot-Duclot Architectes Associes, has created a unique social housing block in Paris. Located in the 15th arrondissement, the 124-meter-long building is clad in steel and comprises of 104 apartments spread across five floors. The structure, designed to sit above a subway maintenance workshop, features a concrete frame with large timber infills to reduce weight. Christ & Gantenbein stated that the building’s facade is constructed with prefabricated wooden elements, chosen to lighten the construction and contribute to its ecological footprint. The steel facade was added to evoke the industrial context of the building while giving it an unexpected appearance. The firm managed to break up the mass of the block by creating indents and balconies that animate the facade. According to Christ & Gantenbein, this architectural feature is often found in Paris and allows for ventilation and diverse views within the dense city fabric. The studio aims to demonstrate that high-quality social housing is achievable in Paris with this project. The apartments, although compact, provide a sense of generosity due to their double-aspect design or multiple views. The incorporation of loggias as unheated spaces adds value to the project by helping regulate the building’s temperature. These loggias are not included in the total square footage per apartment, serving as a bonus for residents. Christ & Gantenbein was founded in 1998 and has previously designed projects such as a museum for Lindt chocolate, a concrete bridge in Switzerland, and a multifunctional workspace in Germany. The photography for this project was done by Walter Mair or Florent Michel.
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