|Address||rue du Tage/rue du Moulin de la Porte (13th)|
|Building Type||Perimeter block, corner|
Perimeter block, infill
|Number of Dwellings||48|
|Dwelling Types||flats and maisonettes, artists' studios|
|Section Type||flats and maisonettes|
|brick, plaster, metal, ceramic tile|
|Construction Type||RC frame|
|Ancillary Services||shop, parking below grade|
This project is part of a larger Zone d'Aménagement Concerté (ZAC) redevelopment site on the south edge of the city near Port d'Italia in the perimeter zone of the old Trier walls along Boulevard Kellerman. Typical of much of the Trier zone, this an area of mixed development including a 1960's tower and several other existing buildings along Avenue d'Italia, and part of the outside face of the old city block system. The site was further complicated by abandoned SCNF tracks that pass across the site in a depressed ditch just outside the city perimeter. The new ZAC plan includes new housing along Boulevard Kellerman and Avenue d'Italia and a new park in the middle of the site, the Jardin du Molin de la Porte. Furet's buildings attach to the southern edge of the old city blocks facing the tracks. A new structure has been built over the tracks so that the park will extend to the edge of the new line of apartments.
The four short towers along the park set on a two story high base along the southern edge of the site. This creates a plinth that defines the edge of the perimeter block along the south and forms two landscaped courtyards on the interior of the blocks. These two blocks that are separated by a landscaped pedestrian allée that will connect to the new public park to the south The two-story base contains artists' studios and is expressed as three horizontal zones; a bottom zone in dark blue ceramic tile with clerestory windows of glass block, a zone of white cast stone, and a continuous band of white windows. The plinth concept is also apparent on the organization of the courtyards and other new buildings in the block, defining a shop and the building lobby along rue du Tage and entrance lobbies along the courtyard. The artist's studios have large windows and entrances along the courtyard garden. Treating the towers, as freestanding elements not only provides opportunities for windows on the sides, but is an effective site strategy to admit south light to the courtyards. The space between towers is used as a trellised roof terrace. The towers are organized as point-access types with short open galleries along the courtyard providing access to the buildings along the side street. In addition to the row of towers, Furet designed two other separate infill blocks along the perimeter of the block, one at the north east corner facing rue du Tage, and the other along the west side that defines the corner of the block along rue du Moulin de la Porte. Both of these buildings are built to the implied height of the block.
The three-dimensional form of each towers is expressed as two, superimposed cubic solids, one in red brick and a smaller one in white plaster. These geometric forms interpenetrate to create a complex, layered composition varying in height from 2 to 6 floors. The red brick cube defines the outside surface while the slightly recessed white cube within is lower and penetrates the perimeter of the outer brick block as projecting bay windows and balconies and inflected surfaces that define a partial loggia along the courtyard. The resulting architectural dialogue--addition/ vs. subtraction, planer vs. inflected, recessed vs. projecting, light vs. dark, brick or ceramic tile vs. smooth plaster--is consistent with other recent Furet buildings such as the rue de la Croix Nivert apartments in of 1998 and results in very dynamic, complex building forms. The western tower is a different version of the other three, reflecting its unique position at the corner of the block. The tower facades reveal an interior mix of dwellings of different types and sizes and a complex interior spatial program similar to Furet's Gambetta apartments of 1988. In many ways Gambetta can be seen as the model for this type of small, free-standing, volumetrically complex urban villa; a row of Gambettas facing the park. The windows and other details here are also consistent with earlier Furet designs; a limited, rational catalogue of repetitive types that are equipped with different types of shutters and accessories.
In spite of the obvious benefits of better lighting access and better views, the economies of building density would seem to virtually prohibit the use of the urban villa as a viable housing type in a dense city like Paris, especially in a perimeter block application. Still, several other recent ZAC developments in the city have used freestanding or partially freestanding tower types. Catherine Furet has also used similar groups of tower elements in other projects such as the big infill group on Avenue de Clichy of 1996 and ZAC Citroën Cévennes of 2003. While the urban villa type would seem to be less viable for use as an infill building in a typical perimeter block application, Kellerman is different because of one side of the block faces an open space and here the combination of enclosure afforded by the raised plinth and the free-standing qualities of the short towers seem both desirable and logical.
Techniques et Architecture, Feb. 1999, pp. 76.