Perimeter block, courtyardPerimeter block, infillSlab, corridorSlab, gallery-access, skip stop
Bagnolet Artists' Studios
Chavannes, Patrick | Paris, France | 1984-87
Image of Bagnolet ...
West facade on the courtyard.

ProjectBagnolet Artists' Studios
ArchitectChavannes, Patrick
Address133 rue de Bagnolet (20th)
Building TypePerimeter block, courtyard
Perimeter block, infill
Slab, gallery-access, skip stop
Number of Dwellings19
Date Built1984-87
Dwelling Types3 & 3 BR duplexes and triplexes
No. Floors5-6
Section Typeskip-stop, duplexes
Exterior Finish
plaster, metal & metal windows
Construction TypeRC frame
Ancillary Services13 parking spaces

Originally, the interior of this îlot near Porte de Bagnolet was used as part of the system of reservoirs that had been built in the hills along the East Side of Paris. Removing these facilities left several gaps in the perimeter of the block, and a large, irregular space on the interior. Renovation of the block involved a complex strategy of three different perimeter infill buildings, built on different sides of the block, and two new buildings built in the interior that increased the density, allowed light access for the existing structures, and provided a network of connected pedestrian walks, courtyards, and gardens. Redevelopment proceeded in two stages, the most recent of which is this project by Patrick Chavannes for 19 artists' ateliers. The project that preceded Chavannes consisted of three different elements that connected rue Pelleport and rue des Prairies on a generally east-west axis through the block. In the Chavannes design, a 5-story slab is positioned as a partially freestanding element in the garden, connecting existing buildings and spaces to a 6-story building facing rue de Bagnolet to the south.

Chavannes' complex thus consists of two, separate buildings placed at right angles so that one end, a 6-story tower, plugs the gap in rue de Bagnolet and the other, a 5-story rectangular slab, extends into the block. Both tower and slab define a narrow garden walk through the site from an entrance on rue de Bagnolet that connects to the other earlier buildings on the site. Both buildings have tall porch/brise-soliel/gallery elements facing the garden and both contain artists' ateliers and apartments. The tower has a narrow façade on the street, but spreads to a wider porch overlooking the garden. The rounded stair that provides access to the upper floors of the tower stands as a sculptural object at the end of the garden. The tower contains 5 artists' maisonettes each with two-story high studio spaces on the garden side and balconies on the street. The slab contains 6 triplexes and 6 duplexes that interlock in an ingenious split-level section. Ramps provide access to a circulation gallery and the triplex entrances at the first floor and the kitchen and living area overlooking the tall studio space extending from the floor below. A stair connects to the lower level that has a small paved court on the entrance side and has large windows facing a garden on the east side. The bedrooms are on the third floor where there is a small balcony built in the space of the porch structure, and windows overlook the garden to the east. A recessed gallery at the 5th floor services the top duplexes that also have living spaces and a tall room facing east and bedrooms on the second floor.

The concatenated set of architectonic elements that make of the porch façade--ramp, balcony, balustrade, gallery, and windows--result in a very layered, plastic, articulated structure. The white and gray plaster walls, painted steel railings and white metal window frames result in a definite Modernist appearance. Depressing the bottom floor a partial level creating a lower court and the ramps and the modest landscaped area in the front of the buildings provides a modicum of privacy to the triplex residents. While the organization of connected pedestrian walks, courtyards and landscaping provides spatial continuity on the interior of the block, this is not matched by the a similar continuity among buildings and the difference between stages of construction is readily apparent.

Architecture d'aujourd'hui, Oct, 1988, pp. 84-5.

Architecture intérieure crée, June-July, 1988, pp. 60-65.

AMC, Oct, 1988, pp. 94-5.

Bauwelt, Jan, 1992, pp. 52-55.

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