Zac des Lilas designed by the young architects from the Paris-based offices Chartier Dalix and Avenier & Cornejo Architectes illustrates what is possible in social housing construction. The building, which is visible from a distance, was clad with hand-made facing bricks by Wienerberger and is equipped with wind power plants. It provides a new link between the Banlieue and the greater Paris area and sets a strong architectural example.
Zac des Lilas in Paris, France
Régie Immobilière de la Ville de Paris(RIVP), social housing developer
Avenier Cornejo Architectes, Chartier-Dalix Architectes associés
Terca Hectic reduced
Day care and young workers hostel, Paris © Luc Boegly
Zac des Lilas is located only just in the periphery, which is separated from Paris by the orbital motorway called Périphérique. The project posed a challenge in terms of urban planning for this metropolitan area, which is undergoing permanent change and continuously redefines its topography. The client, Régie Immobilière de la Ville de Paris (RIVP), is a public housing agency promoting the construction of social housing in the French metropolis and made strict specifications regarding the construction of a facility with 240 flats for migrants and young workers as well as common facilities including a media library, a gym, a shared kitchen and a daycare centre for 66 children on the ground floor.
A homogeneous, anthracite-coloured skin envelops the entire building. This layer was made of hand-made Terca facing bricks by Wienerberger, which bring an infinite variety of anthracite shades to the façade, and are in addition durable and easy-to-clean. Aiming to highlight the sensual, matt shimmering velour character of the brick, the architects clad the horizontal and vertical breaks in the façade with copper, which contrasts the dark brick and emphasises the façade. This material choice is not coincidental. With this design, the municipal client established a direct connection to the historic HBM Programme (“habitation bon marché”, affordable housing space) for the development of the boundary wall along the city’s former fortifications with green, mostly six-storey cités-jardins, which had been implemented between the World Wars to provide affordable living space as solid brick construction and still decisively characterise the Parisian cityscape today.
Two wind power plants are installed on the rooftop. In European cities, this form of energy generation is currently in the experimental phase. The wind channel which Zac des Lilas is situated in assists in supplying the building with wind power. In the daytime, the two wind power plants supply the daycare centre, and in the evenings, the migrants’ residential home on the two top floors and the apartments for young workers, which are distributed over six levels. Chartier Dalix and Avenier Cornejo Architectes estimate the consumption at 25 kWh/m², a value that entirely meets the requirements as specified by the Plan Climat de Paris. 30 percent of the energy demand is generated with additional solar panels. Zac des Lilas combines functionality with elegance and aesthetics, which is simply indispensible for the French. And it is obviously worthwhile.
The aesthetic of a building is based on the technical and design quality of the used building materials.