“Le Candide” is a multi-storey social housing project providing 29 flats. What may, at first sight, appear to be quite ordinary, is in fact an alternative to living and dwelling in the city.

Project details

Project “Le Candide” multi-storey residential building in Vitry-sur-Seine, France
Architect Bruno Rollet Architecte, Paris
General contractor Demathieu & Bard
Planning – building systems EPDC Engineers, Helin Elec
Clay blocks used Porotherm thermal insulating brick GFR20Th+
Facing bricks used Terca facing brick Rhônes

Multi-storey residential building built with bricks

“Le Candide” multi-storey residential building in Vitry-sur-Seine, France © Luc Boegly

Multi-storey residential building built with bricks

“Le Candide” multi-storey residential building in Vitry-sur-Seine, France © Luc Boegly

Look from inside out to the balkony

“Le Candide” multi-storey residential building in Vitry-sur-Seine, France © Luc Boegly

Firmly rooted in the e4 brick house concept by Wienerberger

The twin block, which is located in a rather neglected neighbourhood, provides a workshop on the ground floor, a vegetable garden on the rooftop as well as greenhouses, a wind wheel for irrigation and a shared playground including a terrace for children. It is an environment with numerous common areas the residents of the house share, where they have a chat and help each other. So the house provides everything what living is all about and it is firmly rooted in the e4 brick house concept by Wienerberger: energy efficiency, renewable energy sources, affordability as well as a unique quality of living.

Brick on the inside and outside

When viewed from the outside, the most striking elements are the balconies with woven willow balustrades, which are undulated around the façade in a different way on every level. Here, LEDs shine like fireflies at night and are recharged during the day. The walls are constructed as cavity brick walls to ensure an increased heat and sound insulation as well as an improved indoor climate for the well-being of all residents.

Example through innovation

Besides tried and tested traditional materials such as brick, new technologies were also applied (e.g. waste water heat pumps). However, the true innovations are not only of a technical nature because natural ventilation, for example, also reduces charges residents have to pay. For the residents, the project means to gain a foothold in a previously neglected neighbourhood. The “Candide” allows them to live in bright, well-ventilated, energy-efficiently managed public housing and enjoy the luxury of growing their own fruit and vegetables. The project is an excellent example of how suburbs can be upgraded through attractive, environmentally conscious housing construction.

Good idea

The starting point of this project was an architectural competition in 2010, followed by winning a prize in an ideas competition for low CO2 emissions. That presented the opportunity to review the energy-saving facilities and propose systems to achieve CO2 emissions below 5 kg/m2a. The building society decided to implement these alterations and simultaneously combine architecture and building services with a social commitment. Finally, after an analysis of the Balzac District and its social structure, this alternative residential concept emerged.
 
Bruno Rollett: In Vitry-sur-Seine I decided in favour of brick. Brick has existed for thousands of years and moves with the times. It withstands impermanence: it belongs to the residents and their house, the "Candide'". Brick lets gentle curves emerge. Brick is nature!

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