18.2.2014

Esteban Housing, in Nantes, France

The starting point for the architectural approach of this project was a piece of “virgin” land, the form and profile of which gave little indication of the mutations to come.

We therefore considered the site as a starting point, a “base” on which different types of architecture could be developed. Although the structure of this “base” had been defined perfectly on an urban scale by the François Grether studio, our experience leads us to think that the individual architectural quality of each building is an essential element in the global success of a project.

The residential apartment building named Esteban was thought up in this context, bearing in mind that its architecture had to show strong enough force and character to help build up the identity of the future neighbourhood, while at the same time remaining simple and well-conceived to interact smoothly with the other constructions.

Our reflection focuses on 6 structural themes:
– The use of geometrical precision and constructive rationality as a lever for architecture which has expressive force and character while at the same time respecting an economic equation.
– The setting up of an approach built up around contrasts, between the façades looking out over the roads and those looking out over the central area of the block, in order to introduce different atmospheres and an equal quality of design among all the construction work in the project.
– Encouraging the creation of views and vistas between the public spaces and the landscaped central area, both to highlight it and to introduce some fragmentation in an overall linear construction.
– Carrying out meticulous work on the hewing of stone and the volumetry in order to “soften down” the scale of the project and create a balance between the apartment blocks and the individual houses.
– Paying special attention to the material nature of architecture, and aiming at durability, simplicity but also plastic quality.
– Working specifically as regards the accommodation on themes which bring genuine added value in terms of quality of life. This principle led to building accommodation going from one side of the building to the other, offering vast loggias, and organized inside in such a way that living areas are optimized with clear views of the outstanding spaces on the site.

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