The Synergine Architecture Team recently won the international BB Green award for sustainability in the Paris Affordable Housing Challenge. Our scheme looked at utilizing abandoned land along the rail trench previously known as Le Petite Ceinture (Little Belt).
Utilising a latticework of laminated timber structure, the external industrial-inspired structural shell allows for prefabricated housing pods to be craned into position, rapidly forming housing blocks which are situated above a commercial strip offering opportunity for live / work and social commerce. The interface of the housing blocks with the existing dense urban fabric was also of great interest and importance to us.
BB Green Award
La Ceinture Vivante
The Living Belt
Emerging from the dense urban fabric of Paris, a rail loop once serving the city wall is prime for the regenerative development. Le Petite Ceinture (the Little Belt) is a mostly subterranean rail trench, carved through the urban network of Paris. Yet today, it is largely unused detereorating as nature takes its course.
Concurrently, Paris is facing a massive demand for rental properties as landlords prefer targeting the lucrative tourist market. There is also a push to de-gentrify the inner-city and break the trend of low-income families being forced into the cheaper, outlying North-Eastern suburbs. However, due to the high density and land prices of the inner arrondissements, this is a difficult challenge to address.
This proposal suggests a solution lies in reactivating the rail line through calculated urban fabric and promote cross-cultural living. A commitment to sustainability and the human-scale sees a proposal that utilises renewable resources and enhances the lives of the people who live there.
DESIGN LANGUAGE AND SUSTAINABILITY
The rich cultural history of Paris is expressed through elements of the intricate façade. Exterior latticework extends above the gutter line to form dormer roofs in true Parisian style. Local industrial buildings and rail way buildings express their structural function boldly. The net-like laminated timber diamond grids draped over the form reference these structures as well as the long heritage of wine making in the region and local vineyards still present in the adjacent Georges-Brassens Park.
The proposal reactivates low cost ‘forgotten’ land, increases density and reinvigorates the landscape. Low running costs are achieved by allowing the buildings to breathe through cross ventilation. Renewable energy sources are utilized with all roof spaces orientated for optimum solar collection. Rainwater collection and reuse is made possible with storage tanks located at the lower levels behind the retail tenancies. Where possible, lightweight adaptive structural members cling to existing built features to anchor the structures and reduce the expense of foundations.
Certificate of Appreciation
From the Mayor and CEO of Waitakere City Council - LTP
Roles: Programme Management