This typical street in the seventeenth arrondissement of Paris was the former site of a music and dance school which was bought by the city of Paris for the construction of 10 social housing units and a business space. Following a call for tender, the Avenier Cornejo architecture firm was selected. Contrasting sharply with the original streetscape, this unusual building imposes its presence and sets off the preexisting adjacent buildings. The street façade is a series of vertical, perforated metal panels. A pattern stretches across the multiple panels like a net to give the building a uniform feel. The cladding covers both solid and glazed sections. Over the windows, the metal panels act as full-height shutters that rotate outwards and animate the building facade. This system is perfectly adapted to the exterior insulation, and reduces thermal bridges to respect low-energy housing standards. The building’s compact volumes also limit energy loss, while the shutters enable flexible management of sun and light as the facade faces south-east. The fixed cladding and folding panels soften the building’s stark aspect and allow the facade to evolve throughout the day.
Vertical accesses are located in the center of the building, freeing up the street-facing rooms for daytime living. The calm garden façade is light-colored in order to reflect natural lighting and has fewer glazed sections to prevent energy loss. This peaceful, harmonious exposition is ideal for the bedrooms. All apartments have double expositions. The rear courtyard side of the building has a diaphanous quality which is partially created by the frosted small windows that punctuate the facade. Behind the business and lobby area there is a small, surprisingly lush garden with ground cover plants and a red blood maple tree. This space infuses the entrance hall with a gentle softness that contrasts with the minerality of the neighborhood.