Social Housing
Sevran, France

In a rapidly changing world, contemporary architecture must respond to new problems. This urban and architectural project proposes an architectural complex that brings together different uses in a unique housing.
This project is located in the City of Sevran in the northern suburbs of Paris. This site, encompassing multiple atmospheres in a cosmopolitan city, requires a complex creative process to answer to the numerous ongoing issues.
The process we aimed at is one of collective problem solving which is part of a framework of sustainable development. The location of our site and the uses it will host involve a search for sensitive, aesthetic, social, political, and ecological design.

Sevran is a French commune in Ile-de-France, located northeast of Paris. Divided into several districts, the city of Sevran has a multitude of identities.

Suburban neighborhoods, massive concrete social housing, shopping centers or parks, the city is developing rapidly. However, it fails to respond to a growing number of issues. Indeed, the social inequalities of Sevran are extremely important and it is necessary to propose a sustainable project which serves the city.

Our plot is located between the RER lines and the Ourcq Canal which cuts Sevran in half. It covers 12,000 m², bordered by the train station and the Powder Park.

The project requires building a whole new urban area connecting different district of Sevran through landscaping and architecture. This space should include housing, essential services, and social spaces, and create a true communal space were non-existed before.

Conceptual Drawings - Researches

 

The freedom offered by drawings and artistic creations in general is a real asset as well as a useful working tool. Indeed, the duality of the technical conception and the abstract or imaginary conception, offers another approach in the evaluation of our architectural ideas or realizations.
Art stimulates imagination, creativity and allows us to seek solutions in another way, more distant and more real at the same time.

Thus, through a succession of drawings, I discovered other ways of conceiving architecture, in a more abstract manner, without technical or constructive barriers. By imagining a brutalist city, floating above the ground, I was able to deepen my own perception of what the "Fort" meant. An architectural complex, raw, heavy, almost violent but which reveals a teeming life inside. It is paradoxically massive and hermetical, and a pleasant, aesthetic, functional and sensual place of life.

By detaching myself from the aesthetic and formal aspect, I was able to work on the concept behind my project and develop it until it resulted in a concrete architectural project.

Housing first conceptual models

 

It is essential to combine housing with other activities to create a functioning and welcoming space of life. Plus, it would encourage Sevran’s inhabitants to move to our site.

Therefore, I chose to integrate several uses, besides accommodation, into each of my buildings.

The whole project brings together 66 housing units ranging from Studio to T5 and a multitude of programs: library, sports center, social assistance center, botanical walk, bicycle paths, greenhouses, rooms for rent for various events and play areas for children.

These programs interact with each other inside and outside the building. They are linked by different routes that create a stimulating and pleasant path for resident as well as passers-by.

The typology of the buildings implies a calculated and optimized space management. Indeed, each building has a width of 44 meters at the base, which creates extremely dim interior spaces. To solve this problem, I chose to pierce the center of each building with a large stairwell, open to the sky thanks to a flat canopy on the roof. The intermediate spaces located between the living rooms of the apartments and the stairwell accommodate the storage spaces: cellars-attics, which do not require light.

Finally, for the larger apartments, a second room which, if closed in the classic way, would have received no light, is open to the living room thanks to a glass wall. Thus, indirect light can penetrate the room, of which the owner can choose the layout. This annex room can be used for instance as an office, a library, a workshop, or a guest room (using curtains for the latter to provide privacy).

The problematic of light also comes into question in cases of public use of the project. Indeed, each building extends across the hill and opens onto the railroad tracks. These spaces, which house a sports center, a social assistance center and a library, are therefore only partially lit. Thus, the central rooms, located under the botanical walk are used to accommodate the most fragile books, storage spaces, changing rooms.

Vegetation is a central element to the project. Vegetation plays a constructive role in maintaining the hill; an aesthetic role, a functional role for the natural walk it creates; an ecological role; and a creative role. Indeed, the vegetation is a real added value and inexpensive, it serves the landscape/scenery/environment/background and the buildings by creating different atmospheres, as a bridge between architecture and landscaping.

I chose a variety of trees and plants to arrange my hill, the balconies, and flat roofs. These have been carefully selected for their adaptability and compatibility with the Parisian climate.