Le Ceinture Vivante
The Living Belt
BB Green Award
The Synergine Architecture Team won the international BB Green award for sustainability in the Paris Affordable Housing Challenge. Our scheme looked to utilise the abandoned land along the rail trench by applying 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 as well as our commitment to sustainability and the human-scale, using renewable resources and enhancing the lives of the people who would live there.
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 railway buildings express their structural function boldly. The net-like laminated timber diamond grids draped over the form, reference 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.