PARIS – On the edge of Parc de la Vilette in Paris’s 19th district, modular student housing hides behind a basket-inspired jagged façade designed by Slovenian practice OFIS Arhitekti.

Just under 200 students occupy nine floors of the eleven storey volume. The other two floors are taken by services and shared programmes. The whole programme exists in two volumes connected by a bridge and a garden on the first floor, creating interesting common spaces for students to interact.

Each student occupies exactly the same floor plan and are provided with the same facilities, only the facades vary in their protrusion. The studios include an entrance, bathroom, wardrobe, kitchenette, working space and a bed. An additional reward for the students in this building is a balcony attached to every apartment, overlooking the street. An open corridor and gallery space faces the football field offering views to the Eiffel tower.

The architects say that the baskets are ‘randomly oriented to diversify the views and rhythm of the façade.’ They go on to say that ‘shifted baskets create a dynamic surface while also breaking down the scale and proportion of the building.’ The other side of the building has an altogether different façade but continues the undulating theme with its metal mesh skin.

Simple strategies were implemented for energy efficiency – cross ventilation through the balconies, daylight through glazed patio doors, glazed staircases in common circulation, thick insulation and thermal bridge breakers which were used on corridor floors and balconies. The roof is covered with photovoltaic panels to generate electricity. Rainwater is also harvested on site and used for watering outdoor green spaces.

Photos courtesy of Tomaz Gregoric