Perimeter block, infillSlab, corridorSlab, gallery-access
Ave. Daumesnil Apartments for Postal Workers
Chavannes, Patrick | Paris, France | 1993
Image of Ave. Daume...
Ave. Daumesnil facade.

ProjectAve. Daumesnil Apartments for Postal Workers
ArchitectChavannes, Patrick
Address168 Ave. Daumesnil (12th)
Building TypePerimeter block, infill
Slab, gallery access
Number of Dwellings29
Date Built1993
Dwelling Typesstudio & 1 bra. flats; 1 bra. maisonettes
No. Floors10
Section Typeflats & skip-stop
Exterior Finish
metal panels, glass curtain wall
Construction TypeR-C frame
Ancillary Servicespost office along street, raised wood deck at rear

This infill project on Ave. Daumesnil near the landscaped promenade created on the abandoned railroad viaduct which meanders through the 12th arrondissment in the Reuilly district, is one of about thirty similar small sites scattered in different neighborhoods of the city, part of a program by the Post Office, to provide housing for postal trainees (see Oberkampf). The narrow 9 story slab contains 28 apartments built above a new post office along the street that open to a raised wooden deck in the angular-shaped space on the interior of the block. Apartments are organized in a narrow slab facing the street with access via continuous open galleries along the opposite side facing the interior of the block. Attached to the rear of the gallery is a separate, vertical elevator block, a long, narrow stair connecting the deck to the first floor gallery, and a separate angular block containing one flat per floor wrapped around the access stair. The slab block is divided into 12' bays with a flat in the angular space at the end. It contains a mix of flats and maisonettes. The slab is organized with the entry, baths and kitchens in a zone along the gallery and the open space of the dwelling facing the street. The maisonettes, which provide the two room dwellings required in the program, are rendered in the the Parisian tradition as artists' studios with modest two-story high spaces and an open stair connecting to the mezzanine where there is a bedroom and bath, and a separate small space which can be closed off with a sliding panel. The continuous glass facade along the south side of Daumesnil is the same height but contrasts sharply with the masonry buildings to either side giving the progressive imagery sought by the Post Office in this new building program. The projecting edge of the floor slab provides a strong horizontal emphasis to the aluminum and glass curtain wall, which is divided into large fixed and smaller operating panels. In contrast to the layered glass north facade, the south facade consists of a composition of several distinct elements and the dominant material is metal with small horizontal strip windows. The cantilevered galleries are continuous at every floor even though there is no access at the upper level of the maisonettes. The Post office functions on the ground floor extend into the courtyard beneath the wood deck and there is a separate lobby for the apartments.

The gallery access building type is quite unusual in recent French housing where point access circulation systems dominate in the absence of fire laws requiring multiple exits. Chavannes designed a similar slab building about the same time on rue Léon-Maurice Nordman (see Léon-Maurice Nordman). While a point-access system is used at Nordman, a similar strategy of attaching solid forms the side of a sheer glass slab is used. Here, however, the glass wall faces west and while a similar horizontal emphasis is evident, the layered concept is much more developed as a balcony/solarium device.

Jean-Michel Hoyet, Ed., Contemporary Architecture in Paris, Tech. & Arch., Paris, 1966, p.110

Le Moniteur Architecture-AMC, no. 41, May, 1993, p. 36.

Techniques et Architecture, Nov. 1993, pp. 58-67.

Bauwelt, Mar 4, vol 85, 1994, p. 474-5.

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