Perimeter block, infill
Gambetta Apartments
Furet, Catherine | Paris, France | 1988
Image of Gambetta ...
Street Facade

ProjectGambetta Apartments
ArchitectFuret, Catherine
CityParis
CountryFrance
Address12, passage Gambetta, 20th
Building TypePerimeter block, infill
Number of Dwellings7
Date Built1988
Dwelling Typesstudio, 1 & 2 BR flats; 2,3 & 4 BR maisonettes
No. Floors5
Section Typeflats
Exterior Finish
Materials
stucco, ceramic tile, metal windows & folding screens
Construction TypeRC frame
Ancillary Services

This modest group of 7 dwellings along a lovely tree-lined, sloping cul-de-sac in the 20th arrondissement is an interesting juxtaposition of vernacular and modernist building forms and ideas. The five-story block on a shallow infill block matches the scale and character of other new and old buildings on the street and it has the advantage of street landscaping along both front and rear so that the dwellings within have pleasant views and excellent natural lighting. At the lower floors the building is expressed as a solid element wrapped around a recessed entrance courtyard. The upper part, however, is expressed as two separate volumes divided by a common terrace. A cylindrical stair, partially revealed as a vertical element on the courtyard, connects the upper and lower elements together. The two halves are unequal, separated by a common structural wall and further defined as separate apartments. The curving stair wall and deflected surface on the courtyard help soften the elementary cubic quality of the building mass. Entrance is made from the sidewalk into a slightly depressed courtyard from which entry is made to the round stair and lobby. The two small flats at the courtyard level have small rear terraces. A separate stair along the side of the courtyard leads to a long, narrow duplex above that occupies the narrow portion of the building on the left. Two maisonettes occupy the top two floors and share a central terrace. Both of these dwellings step back at the top floor forming narrow terraces that face the street. Paired freestanding columns along the street are articulated as a partial open pilotis that supports unadorned walls above where windows are applied in a limited palette either as articulated corners at wall intersections or as more traditional recessed openings. The courtyard surfaces are finished in white ceramic tile while the street surfaces are plaster. Gambetta contains an unusual and spatially interesting mix of flats and maisonettes. Only the two middle flats are alike and the other apartments range in size from studios to four bedroom maisonettes. The transformation of the building mass from the solid base to the articulated top reinforces the penthouse qualities of the top two maisonettes. While this is hardly a typical site, an exclusive passage tucked away in the midst of the denser fabric that dominates most neighborhoods in Paris, Gambetta is interesting as a model of the kind of dwelling quality and diversity that is possible with careful design.

Hoyet, Jean Michel, Contemporary Architecture in Paris, Techniques & Architecture, Paris, 1996, p. 124.

Architecture d'aujourd'hui, Oct, 1988, pp. 88-89.

Architecture intèrieure créé, June-July, 1988, pp. 56-59.

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