PARIS – Inspired by Baron Haussmann’s great Parisian mansions of the nineteenth century, Tetrarc's recently completed social housing project connects the contemporary styles of the surrounding Boulogne-Billancourt district with the long-established architectural characteristics of the past. Macro Lot 5A is part of an urban renewal project taking place along the Seine to the west of Paris. The next stage in Tetrarc's development includes the addition of a secondary school situated adjacent to the housing site and due to be delivered in 2018.

With a sensitivity to the context, the design combines Paris' traditional architectural proportions and modern material processes for a decorative and memorable residential scheme. Running along the street, the building's façade is clad with white panelling from top to bottom for a minimalistic backdrop. The continuous blank canvas is split into five intervals with vertically weaving aluminium adornments which mark the apartment entrances. The decorative elements begin at the ground and spiral upwards to form a tower high above the roof, emulating vines climbing a tree. The metallic strips reflect light playfully and add an organic reference to the otherwise rigid façade. The firm explains: ‘These towers are totems for the whole district, showing the importance of private outdoor space in the modern city by making them spectacular and fun’.

Taking on the shape of a 'U' to follow the parameters of the site, the structure leaves open space at its centre for a landscaped corridor to access accommodations at the rear. Concealed towards the back of the site, the rear part of the building is of a smaller scale with a less monumental character than that of the front. Timber clad and accessed from the landscaped corridor, this area becomes a hidden refuge from the bustling street.

Photos courtesy of Stéphane Chalmeau