LILLE - EURALILLE 2 / LOT 1B - ARCHITECTURE
INTERNATIONAL LIMITED COMPETITION - FIRST PRICE
Compact and grouped intermediary – individual housing in a wide planted neighborhood : the Lot 1B in Euralille 2 was the ideal opportunity for us to explore what could be beyond the urban masterplan and the prescriptions given by the urbanist to architects to develop a lot in a new neighborhood.
We thought that, maybe, the urban project should not stop to the limits of each lot. How to get to create interaction in between them? How to get our lot, Lot 1B, to look like a mini-masterplan, and finally, how to recreate urbanity even within these lots?
Create a micro-urbanity that will affect the residents of these buildings, but not only. We could also propose some porosity, links, opened windows in between the neighboring lots.
The project design reworks the urban concept of the “Inhabited Forest” and translates the guiding principles to create a neighborhood of intermediary residences, by pride of place given to vistas and itineraries both inside and out, creating a network of “micro-interiorities” which foster social exchanges.
What is interesting is that, this concept also allowed us to revisit the question of individual housing. In many places the individual house is the credo, the number one goal. Yet if we want to build sustainability in the long term, we cannot, we should not do individual houses anymore. However, we can try to provide buildings that retain the qualities of individual housing: to access directly from the outside to the dwelling, to have large spaces, housing on two or even three levels like houses, be in direct contact with gardens, terraces, generous outside living areas...
On the ground level, the inner passageways are clearly identifiable and offer easy access to different parts of the building, while the various pathways, private gardens and common spaces such little squares and play areas, are there to generate a sense of generous conviviality, while still respecting the privacy of each resident.
The project has a full range of housing types, mixed freely together.
A small collective building, over five floors, converses with a series of grouped individual houses. Each house or apartment plays on the transparency of its facade; enjoying the exchange this makes way for with the trees and their leafy boughs, taking full advantage of the fusion of the natural and the concrete world.
Within each unit, the rooms are laid out in simple, rational design, in tune with the needs of modern lifestyles, such as flexibility of uses and capacity for transformation. The multiple aspect of most rooms, with open vistas over the surrounding woodland or extensions out into it, create a rich variety of changing atmospheres and generously spacious living conditions for each resident to enjoy. Terraces and hanging gardens put the finishing touches to this array of “domesticated natural areas”.
The strength of the project lies in the whole buildings which are bound to a particular collective space: a great gateway that gives the idea of an “above-ground” surface. You can access to housing by this light metallic footbridge that crosses much planted areas and woodlands, where space is large enough, either to meet his neighbor or discuss, or to exit a chair on a nice day… Finally it is a place where there will be uses.
In this project, we gave friendly places to people in order that they do not behave, as it is too often decried, every one for himself; An architectural disposal that allows also initiating a real neighborhood feel of conviviality, these social ties which become so rare, certainly because of the lack of places that are suitable.
This was a way for us to make sense within our architecture...