How does one increase the density while enhancing the quality of the urban landscape at the same time? At the top of the Belleville’s area, the old playground of a social housing building is now occupied by a strange object, half garden, half space-ship. Nowadays the folded brass membrane shines like a rap clip, but it will be soon covered by a grass colored patina and the west façade will match more and more better with the vegetal roof. As a purpose it is a nursery, but for the neighbors it is a piece of landscape, built to become even more attractive day after day.
Could a landlock field appear to be open if we look it from the right side? The nursery is not visible from the street. A porch roof marks the entry which leads the people through a gallery under the buildings of the street. Once the the children are inside, they forgot the wall of building they just past as they are standing on a space widely open to the exterior playground. Then, the all nursery takes place on one single story, fixed by boxes, and lighted and structured by a Shed. On this side, the façade is no more mysterious and it’s easy for the children to recognize the function of every boxes : a rest room, a wearing area…
Does the green aspects of a building have to be exposed to the people? A compact shape, a very good natural lighting, an efficient covering, an important output of renewal air, only checked materials… The basics are all good. But the extras qualities are barely invisible. Some are hidden technicals skills like the motorized windows loaded by the night VN during the summer or the damp-proof dryer which keeps the building dry… The other ecological bonus of the building deal more with a clever approach of the site. The building is set on a still working parking, and all the materials of a kit construction have been delivered through a sort of underground gallery. This light means of construction avoids to reinforce the parking. It is no more visible nowadays, but it saved a lot of money and gray energy.
However the green rooftop is more iconic and it communicates about a couple of issues unknown by many people like the stormwater, the biodiversity, the inertia or the sprinkling. Furthermore, it is a good way to remind this strong and ancient link between nature and architecture, which at time creates nice things.