Gaëtan le Penhuel & Associés was created in 1994, following a successful proposal for a Europan 3 project in Reims, and now has around 20 staff. Having delivered several major projects, the architects look back on the work through an exhibition at the Galerie d’Architecture, a selection of projects created by the studio in more than 20 years, some of which are presented in screenings of large format film segments. twinned with a special issue of the magazine Archistorm.
“Gaëtan le Penhuel & Associés: Grands Formats”
March 19 – April 16, 2016
La Galerie d’Architecture
11 rue des blancs manteaux
The projects presented are organized into three parts: The first depicts the last buildings constructed in the form of videos made using drones and projected in large format on the walls of the gallery. These films are accompanied by life-size prototypes. The second shows the operations which are work in progress within the agency.
The third is a research project entitled “Urban Monads” (Les Monades urbaines) offering a utopian but possible vision of the evolution of the contemporary metropolis. The title comes from Robert Silverberg’s science fiction novel “The World Inside” (United States, 1971), in which the author describes “The Urban Monads ”of the 24th century: large high density residential towers, soulless places inhabited by a terrible version of humanity divided by ruthless social segregation.
TAILLÉE SUR MESURE (Housing Tower in Aubervilliers)
Whiteness and blackness nested, the two volumes of this slender tower housing settle squarely in the panorama of the district of Fort, in Aubervilliers. The project will host the construction of 57 new housing units to rearrange a busy intersection between the pedestrian flows via the metro Fort Aubervilliers and the dense auto circulation on the RN2. A new space facing south allows the identification of urban space offering sunny terraces for cafés and shops at ground floor. 42 meters high, the tower rises far above its neighbors. The relevance of such an urban form, that could seem to some inappropriate, reflects the surrounding urban context.
To resolve the tension between landscape near and far, the volume of thirteen floors takes a sculptural form: two vertical prisms, articulated around a fault, standing on a broader base. Such an angular translation of the yin yang symbol, matte black skin and white lacquered metal clash and embrace. This plasticity is not a formal coquetry: the vacuum formed between the two elements protects vertical circulation, naturally lit. The solid base, partly on stilts up construction levitating while firmly linking it to the street.
To protect homes from traffic, all the apartments, which are also double or triple orientation, open onto large glazed loggias. These intimate and generous spaces can be completely closed, leaving rotate their glass slides. Their implementation neat, unusual for a social housing operation, a valuable key to the building and helps to rehabilitate the image of a neighborhood in full transformation.
POINT THE SUTURE (School and Sport Campus Petit-Clamart)
A giant of nearly 5 hectares, the building appears between two antagonistic landscapes of the city. In the south, a suburban plot, north, a uniform alignment of massive towers of social housing. The latter, seven to twelve stories high, stand at the edge of a large garden city built in the sixties. The vast field of operation is the opportunity to pacify autistic urban fabric and gives enough space to reconcile the two territories. For suturing the banks, three cross traffic routes are created, plus a central pedestrian street that serves the sports facilities and schools for elementary and maternal half.
The four schools, mainly on the ground floor, are nestled in a vast green carpet, offering a stunning view to the inhabitants. Volumes pierce and emerge from the wide vegetable plate, creating double point heights, breaths, and openings to the sky while pointing out the specific elements of the program on the first floor. The sports complex is also under a single huge shell: hollowed, curved and distorted by the presence of its multiple functions – dojo, gymnasium, changing area, tennis court.
However, the building is not a monolith. This friendly diplodocus is structured by a laminated wood skeleton, very far-reaching. The complex, schools and sports building, while soft, undulating curves, creates a new artificial landscape that peacefully embodies the ambition of an urban environment, stitching social and educational functions, aiming for the well-being of the citizens.