French architecturee office LAN has announced the completion of their housing building “Carré Lumière” in Bègles, suburb of Bordeaux, in South West France. The 79 apartments comprising this great building commissioned by Ataraxia, a property management company, follow the demolition of the previously idle towers of the “Terre Neuve” district.
As part of this urban project supervised by the SAEMCIB (Société Anonyme d’Economie Mixte de Construction Immobilière de Bègles) and driven by the local government, the objectives were to “exemplify” community housing with the intention to explore new propositions within the industry.
Program: Construction of a complex of apartments, shops and business premises.
Location: District Terres Neuves, Bègles, France
Cost: 8 M EUR HT
Status: Built 2015
Size: 6,980 m2
Team: LAN Architecture (lead architect), Agence Franck Boutté (HEQ consultant), Batiserf Ingénierie (structure), Michel Forgue (quantity surveyor), LBE (fluids).
Photography by Julian Lanoo.
This request was guided by 4 main principles: to reinvent community housing; to enable people to live in an evolving space, to set the example of sobriety -pricewise-, and to picture a climatic model for the building.
To reinvent community housing, or at least to consider intermediary forms of inhabiting that combine the need for privacy with the enjoyment of sociability.
Can the iconic image of collective housing be approached in a way to compete with the icon of the house? The “Carré Lumière” has the same qualities as a single-family home (the sense of privacy, individual exterior spaces, independence, and easily accessible outdoor space) without the disadvantages in terms of environmental impact (stretching networks, visual and atmospheric pollution, excessive use of ground).
DURABILITY AND EVOLUTION
To enable people to live in a place that can evolve with them.
Aldo Rossi states that the form of a city is always the form of its time, and there are many times in the formation of the city. This project makes a rupture into the functionalist logic, and somewhat into its program. It is an architecture stronger than its demands, more durable than its policy; an architecture ready indistinctly to survive and adapt to the social and economic changes; suggesting scenarios to face the different needs, believing that there are some projects that generate potential; and this stock of «energy» in this project is a ”non-built» vacuum in space.
Bègles is a semi-unfinished project, it is rather a “form in movement”. It is a malleable envelope that has the potential to double in its size tomorrow, and double its capacity. Each apartment can swap its winter garden for an interior space in order to increase its living area. In response to the growth of a family, inhabitants can add a room within the framework that has already been constructed, and why not, they can always remove it once the kids have left home.
PREFABRICATION AND PRICES
To give an example of “economical sobriety”.
Bègles was built at a cost of 1,000 € per m², a price far below the current price in this region, and double the surface area. To do this, beyond all the rationalization, prefabrication, budget control and management, and a certain architectural sobriety, we cut out all the middlemen, the service economy. This means that the habitats go from the person who builds to the person who buys with as few steps in between as possible. The two-way slab structure was an opportunity to develop a lightweight façade system which allows us to reach a level of high performance insulation. In the meantime, the surface of the balance sheet is not damaged and we easily discharge specific items like thermal bridges.
To picture a specific and sustainable climatic model.
The formalised part, the urban planning requirements, allowed LAN to use a hybrid climatic model that complements the climate in this part of France. The bio-climatic design is halfway between a heavily insulated Nordic model and a Mediterranean patio-style design. It’s based on the principle of variable compactness, which introduces the notion of the housing’s adaptability both on a large scale to the rhythm of the seasons and to the minute climate changes on any given day. Everyone has the option to use their outdoor space as a windbreak, a greenhouse, or, to the contrary, as a cooling unit. This is called inter-seasonal architecture.
The two buildings are very distant from the actual standards of housing production: the building is only seven metres in depth, built like a parking lot and ornamented with industrial motifs. Despite some of the radical aspects of this project, it quickly became a fundamental part of the identity of this new district.
The project becomes an architecture made of lightweight material with fine patterns. The facades are defined by two layers; each responding to the different needs and complementing the other perfectly. The first skin, fabricated of light, thin, white metal sheets, reflects the colours of the surrounding area and create with effortless simplicity a certain visual penetration effect. This layer has the role of sun protection and completes the second- a «thicker” layer, which responds to the thermal performance requirements.
DAY / NIGHT
As result of the perforation and the folds, all is superimposed, creates an inside-outside condition, has a deep reading, appears light, transparent, in reflexion. At night, the light of each apartment reveals the domesticity of this architecture, its character, its function.
The morphology of each unit derives from the desire to develop housing which allows a multitude of operations without any technical bidding. All the apartments are crossed ventilated with an exterior outdoor space on two or three orientations. Their size varies from 25-130 sqm.
THE ECHOPPE AND THE CORRIDOR
The idea behind the project is to create a hybrid between the individual and the collective housing. The typology, chosen as the starting point of the concept of hybridization, is the Bordeaux ‘echoppes’ : one-story houses, built in-depth.
The simple stalls (with a facade between 5 and 6 meters high) have a side corridor, leading to a main room and a communal space next to the courtyard.
Project drawings and models