|Project||Chateau des Rentiers Apts.|
|Address||106 Rue de Chateau des Rentiers (13th)|
|Building Type||Perimeter block, corner|
|Number of Dwellings||0|
|ceramic tile, precast concrete, metal windows|
|Construction Type||steel & concrete frame|
|Ancillary Services||some terraces|
The siting of modernist slabs on irregular sites often resulted in odd-shaped leftover parcels that were either to small for economical development or rendered virtually uninhabitable because of the formidable blank end walls of the typical residential slab. This unusual, 10 story, point-access, triangular slab was built on such an impossible site, complicated further because it was located at the acute angle of a difficult street intersection. Backing up to the blank north wall of the end of a 13 story 1960's slab, the building mass steps down from this wall to the point of the triangle facing the intersection. The three-meter square structural bay is revealed at this corner as a three-dimensional structural matrix of square steel columns and beams. Except for the lobby of the building, the structural grid at the base of the building provides an open two-story high passageway beneath the building. The exposed structure at the top forms small terraces for the upper dwellings. Inspiration for this small structural grid seems to have come from the construction crane that was used in the building construction and the resulting vertical extension at the corner recalls a crane-like structure. The exterior walls are also rendered as gridded modular organizations here with a small module of alternating square and rectangular panels of black ceramic tile bordered with white tile. Windows align with this modular formation. The small size of both the module of the structure and the exterior tile results in a striking difference in scale between the existing and new facades. The north facade is also rendered in black and white tile and is organized as a large-scale map of this part of the city complete with the location of metro stops and principal landmarks which are lighted at night. The north facade too, shows the scalar dislocation between existing and new, and the repetitive square windows of this facade are curiously at odds with the overpowering zigzag of streets in the tile patterns.
The diagonal lobby that aligns with Rue Jean Colly along the north side of the site has small square windows overlooking a small park to the north as do the kitchen windows of the apartments. There are twenty-five small apartments. The typical floor contains three small, but intriguing studio apartments, one that extends the full width of the existing building, and two others organized centrally about one of the square columns. The dwellings in the upper floors vary in size as the building form changes and some of these have small terraces in the open structure at the top of the building. While the strategy of building on sites leftover from the inflexible siting of modernist zeilenbau forms has to be seen as a worthy objective, this odd little tower ultimately has to be seen more as an eccentric experiment than as a viable housing prototype.
Jean Michel Hoyet, Contemporary Architecture in Paris, Tech. & Arch., Paris, 1996, p. 83
Architecture Studio; Selected and Current Works, Images Pub. Group, Victoria (Australia), p. 176-81.