Druot, Lacaton & Vassal
“We are much more interested in the principle of addition than in simply replacing what is there with something new. It isn’t a question of “one or the other” but a question of “one and the other.” That’s why what already exists, and what we find in place, no matter what its components may be, is always an enrichment. That is much more important to us than simply building a form.
The decision not to demolish the building had been made before the call for tenders. But even though we were not directly involved in this particular decision, the study we published in our book Plus helped to sway opinion on that. The authorities realised that there could be a different solution. Then a competition was held, and we submitted our design. Our approach was really quite simple. First of all, we took a look at the apartments and asked what was missing. We also felt that people should be able to stay in their homes during the refurbishment. That meant remodelling the apartment block without actually emptying the building. We just wanted to start with the building that was already there, and the people in it, and find out what we would have to add to make it a beautiful place to live. It seems that was what the municipal authorities wanted too, and our proposal meant that they didn’t even have to re-house people during the construction.”
– Anne Lacaton, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, 2012
Built in the early sixties along the ring road of Paris, this high rise block of 16 storeys includes 96 apartments. The demolition, firstly envisaged, has been avoided and a project of transformation decided. The project propose a generous extension of the apartments. New floors, built as a self-supporting structure, are added on the periphery of the existing building at every floor, to extend the living rooms, create close-able terrasses and balconies. The existing facades with small windows will be removed and replaced by large transparent openings, so that the inhabitants will profit of the exceptional view on Paris all around.
Ground-floor the entrance hall will be refurbished. The floor will be made on a level with the exterior. The volume will be released of all useless rooms and installations to become a free and transparent space from the entrance to a new garden created on the back of the building. Rooms for collective activities will be established on the sides of the hall. Two lifts will be built to improve the access to the apartments. The structure will be designed with prefabricated elements so that the inhabitants can stay in the apartments during the construction works.
Location: Paris, France
Type: Extension, Housing, Renovation
Client: Paris Habitat (OPAC)
Surface: 8’900 m² existing + 3’560 m² extension (+35,6 m² added per apartment)
Cost: 11’250’000 € HT
Photography: Hisao Suzuki - Philippe Ruault - Daniel Rousselot