Aubervilliers is a sweet and messy suburb located in the north of Paris. The Charles Tillon street, looks like the messiest street in town but when we look carefully we realize that the amazing 80’s building along the East side called the "blue roofs" (or the Smurfs), articulates effectively that contrasted site between huge towers, small housing and a cemetery.
The Smurfs were all designed Fiumani & Jacquemot long time ago, but they were not complete yet. The central part stayed free and the new building take place in the middle of that triangle shaped and colored composition.
The Wild Rabbits Architects choose to complete the work using their own tools to reinterpret the originals goals of the blue roof’s designers. They extend the base of the building and design large vertical walls as a reference to the towers of the district. Then they develop in their own way a scale gradation in relation with the pavilions and the stelae of the nearby cemetery. Blue is integrated by the reflections of the sky in the cladding.
Finally, they compose a face for the "blue roofs". A pop-up construction that could have sprung from a book, folds of giant papers, juxtaposition of large windows entirely open to the south.
Hard to find out, the seven-storey building is actually built in wood. The Pop-Up Building demonstrates the ability of wooden construction to put itself at the service of an agile and desirable architecture.
The building has six levels of wooden structure on a concrete basement and ground floor. It was a technical and regulatory challenge for this competition won in 2011. (At the time, the higher wooden housing building in France raised at 5 floors.)
Regarding French rules, the building is classified in 3rd family with all the consequences to safety and fire-prevention regulations involved.
The load-bearing facades and walls consist in CLT (cross-laminated timber) panels. The non-load-bearing facades are made in wood frame.
The floors – all in CLT panels - form a rigid diaphragm embedded to CLT-walls and the central concrete core formed by the stairwell and the elevator.
Architects and engineers chose to use the sarking system – a technique usually used in roofing - on the facade insulation. This innovative method enables to optimize the prefabrication of the walls and reduce the perforations of the rain screen.
The coating is mainly clear to minimize overheating. The whole construction - except core - is built in dry process, including screeds.