Villa Respiro

Carta - Reichen et Robert Associates - Villa Respiro

This residential complex is in line with the “parcours environnemental” (environmental tracks) approach adopted by the city and the developer Nexity Apollonia, which consists of construction operations which develop strong sustainable-development themes on several sites: “Collectif Nature,” autonomous houses, solar habitat, nature buildings, etc.
This is a “Collectif Nature” operation, comprising recyclable buildings — light wood-frame structures.

Romainville, just beyond the limits of Paris, has preserved its village charm. An atmosphere of the Faubourgs remained there even beyond the upheaval of the 1960s. Of course, the break is visible, but it is not dominant as it is in other towns in the inner ring of Paris suburbs. It can even be said that with an appropriate policy of resorption and integration, these buildings will take their place in the city as landmarks in an urban narrative. The topography, the structure of the town and the strength of the vegetation have preserved Romainville from the gigantism and social segregation that are now so difficult to resorb.

But that does not mean that these urban fabrics are protected. A natural movement of consolidation and banalisation is tending to close off the passages in the heart of the blocks and harden the street fronts. Buildings with four levels on the street front in a single-home pattern considerably transform the urban space.

Another solution is possible. It consists of urban planning that punctuates, building new urban articulations that can both preserve the spirit of the city and build new places of social life while diversifying and modernising the residential offering.

The plots freed up by de-industrialisation, even smaller ones, are the first tools of this transformation if they are complemented by a policy of reparcelling.

An innovative urban form can then be combined with in-depth work to restore green pathways to the city. This is not a homeopathic vision or a policy of “sprinkling.” It is more the idea of reinventing the context using today’s resources.

Why must every contemporary intervention necessarily be autistic and brutal? A tabula rasa approach may have been the guiding spirit a few decades ago.

But we are now in another epoch where sustainable development is now placed at the core of urban action. With, of course, the risk of giving preference to regulations at the expense of the project.

What is beginning is an “inversion of point of view” and a radical change in practices, with all the contradictions and difficulties that accompany these times of change.

We are in a time of “prototypes,” and the Nokia plots are an opportunity to experiment with a new approach at a reasonable scale.

Delivery : 2011

Ile-de-France Region Pyramide d’Argent Grand Prix 2010

NEXITY Apollonia

Reichen et Robert & Associés
Landscaping: Laurence Jouhaud
HQE design office: Sophie Brindel-Beth
Wood structure design office: CBS-CBT

Phase I and II: 8,146 m² net floor area
6,764 m² net floor area - 88 first-time ownership housing units
1,382 m² net floor area - 20 subsidised housing units
375 m² net floor area - 1 shop
Phase III: 759 m² net floor area - 11 first-time ownership housing units
Surface of plot: 8,250 m²

€13 M excluding tax

Environmental approach

Perspectives: MooN Architecture, Asylum, la pixellerie
Photographs: Stéphanie Boisson

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