#50 Mar/Apr 2013

Reality check: Student housing, Paris

Basket Apartments student housing, Paris (Photo: Tomaz Gregoric)
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Reality check: Student housing

Reality check: Student housing

PARIS (FR) - In A10 #25 we wrote about the competition won by the Slovenian architectural bureau OFIS in Paris. Following on the heels of the recently completed Cultural Centre of European Space Technologies (KSEVT) in Vitanje (see A10 #49), these 192 student apartments, also by OFIS, have now been completed. It is the first building in Western Europe by the so-called 'six-pack', a group of six young Slovenian firms.

The 200-metre-long and only eleven-metre-wide new building by OFIS is sandwiched between a sports field and a new railway line in north-eastern Paris. The location lies just outside the ring road and just south of the Canal de l'Ourcq. At first glance, the final realization strongly resembles the competition-winning design. In particular, the east facade facing the street is almost identical to the original concept. Nonetheless, the proposed bamboo has been replaced by HPL cladding in the form of wooden planks. The biggest change is actually in the west facade, adjacent to the sports fields. In the competition design, this wall was represented as a horizontally slatted facade. In the implementation, a choice was made for perforated metal sheeting. This was then applied diagonally, thus becoming much more dynamic. Because of cost considerations, all 192 student residences are identical in design. Most rooms have a balcony, which by Parisian standards is a great luxury. The rooms are all on the noise-afflicted eastern side, while the galleries on the quieter west facade have a view on the Eiffel Tower. It is conceivable that the students might have preferred this to be the other way around.

Basket Apartments student housing, Paris (Photo: Tomaz Gregoric)
Basket Apartments student housing, Paris (Photo: Tomaz Gregoric)
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Of the six-pack group of architects, Sadar + Vuga and Bevk Perović Arhitekti have both won competitions in Belgium, in Ghent and Brussels, respectively. Clearly there is a new generation of young Slovenian architects who will not let opportunities in Western Europe pass them by. Conversely, Slovenia itself has a very closed architectural scene. In recent years, it seems impossible for foreign architects to win competitions in Slovenia. A balanced exchange between East and West, therefore, has unfortunately not yet been achieved.

March | 2013 | France | Emiel Lamers
#50 cover
#50 Mar/Apr 2013

#50 Mar/Apr 2013

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