The project is a 25 collective housing units program and is our first operation delivered.
This operation is located in Les Minimes neighborhood, facing the sea and only a few hundred meters from a landscaped park bordering it. When the order was placed to us, this part of Les Minimes was very little built; only a few individual houses lined the street of our plot. But we knew that the surrounding environment was part of a development orientation (OAP) of the city of La Rochelle and would therefore become denser. Our operation being the first one, we had the responsibility to give the first impulse to this future district, still in development today.
Beyond this initial impetus, we also had the obligation to take advantage of the exceptional location of the project (close to the sea), and above all to offer future residents high-quality housing that would take advantage of this magnificent environment.
The project owner’s ambition was to integrate into this context a housing offer in harmony with the environment, and to offer large outdoor spaces with ocean views. Because of its position, the plot has a direct relationship with the Parc des Pères, which runs along the beach of Le Roux, and therefore with the ocean.
Our architectural position consists in working on this strong relationship between the building and the potentialities of its context, between indoor and outdoor spaces.
The building is organized on four levels. On the south side, each level withdraws in relation to the other to open up large outdoor spaces, giving the sensation of “cascades” of successive terraces. The last level is composed of 4 cantilevered volumes. The exterior passageways positioned to the rear, on the north side, serve all the upper-floor apartments, freeing up the entire south facade. Each dwelling therefore has an entrance door opening directly onto the outside, reinforcing the feeling of individuality within collective housing.
The morphology of the land has made it possible to offer double exposure housings, to take advantage of a favorable orientation to the south and to develop uses to the north. This double exposure allows a good natural ventilation. The rooms have been positioned to the north, in a quiet area, and the living spaces are totally open to the ocean, facing south. They open onto large private terraces, whose intimacy has been designed for increased comfort of the residents. It is guaranteed by wooden storage dividers, topped with plantations of local species that enhance the desired plant atmosphere and provide a light intimacy.
The architectural choices reinforce the coexistence between the mass of the first floor and the first two levels, and the desired lightness of the last one. The first three floors are treated with a white brick facade, the shade echoing the white limestone of the city of La Rochelle. The lightness of the top floor is ensured by a larch cladding, reminiscent of the fishermen’s cabins that can be found in the surrounding area.
The building is designed to limit energy losses: thermal insulation from the outside, large openings to the south, summer comfort provided by shading devices, natural ventilation of the dwellings thanks to their double exposure design. Rainwater is collected and then used to water the communal garden enjoyed by the residents.