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2021 – A/Entre – vertical village

Program 50 housing units and a nursery
Surface 3250 m2
Place Chaville, France
Client Erisma
Team ARKHENSPACES + Atelier TOTEM : Eric Cassar, Jean-François Brault (Atelier Totem), Cosma Allen (Atelier Totem), Alaa Sndyaan, Juvenal Rubinos, Jacqueline Barthelemy (Atelier Totem), Stefania Rosafio, Yakoub Nasry, Tristan Mory / Economist : Eco+Construire

Between / Bet-den : Vertical village

Between city and forest
Between vegetable and mineral
Between shadow and light
Between sharing and independence
Between calm and exchange
Between surprises and comfort

Let yourself be suspended and surprised

Listen better and explore the senses of the spaces of a den, warm and delicate


Architecture is an instrument of environments
which improves living together, soothes and opens up new possibilities


Site and location

The site is adjacent to the forest and only a hundred meters from the station. The location of the building and its orientation to the north of the existing buildings will not produce shade on the neighbors, with the exception, at certain times of the year, of a few apartments on the first levels of the collective housing building located on the other side of rue Carnot.
For these reasons and in an overall ecological concern, we decided to build in a dense way, by reducing the heights on rue Carnot in order to reduce the shadow cast on the building located in front.

The surrounding urban fabric is not homogeneous, our settlement will seek to reinvest between:
1/ to weave disparities by connecting to neighboring buildings located on either side.
2/ to blur the edge between city and forest: the vegetation seems to take over the building, giving the impression that the city enters the forest and the forest enters the city.
3/ to move forward at the corner to appeal and restore a human scale, a more urban character at the intersection of rue du Coteau and rue Carnot. The nursery will be located in this corner.



1 – Flexibility & Modularity

– An independent rational frame, makes it easy to adjust different apartment configurations, and allows greater modularity of plans.
- A simple construction principle: a compact building located on the grid of the car park, to which are added structurally independent wooden terraces, allows to meet economic, ecological and thermal constraints, while offering a maximum of outdoor spaces to all apartments.
- 100% of the apartments have a private outdoor area


2 – Diversity of spaces, routes, exchanges: habitable circulations, synergies and varied atmospheres

A variety of places, atmospheres and spaces to share alone or with others:
1 – on the ground floor overlooking the garden, a large shared two-room living room, soundproofed and accessible, allows you to organize parties without disturbing, to receive friends or simply to meet up with neghbors
2 – the garden-sky, is a calm or lively space depending on the moment. It offers an unobstructed view over the city and forest.
3 – a small accessible garden with 3 offices for teleworking or doing homework for example.
4 – the fault: a hall with surprising architecture, with views and different relaxation areas, on all floors, to meet, rest (view of the city?, view of the forest? shade or light?, calm or animation? alone or together?), to share…
5 – the vegetable garden: a space in the open ground to cultivate, cultivate yourself… and maintain links with your neighbours.
6 – the small garden of scents, to meet in small groups
7- the « habitable » stairs, at each of the 3 half-landings, an isolated space for reading, discussing or working in a small group, relaxing or studying in peace.


3 – Movement architecture

Movement architecture takes into account the movement of the walker or the inhabitant in space. Each new point of view tells a story and plays with the environment. Architecture is no longer conceived as an object whose discovery of a facade would suggest the entirety of the building.
Here the building acts as an instrument of the environment: it constantly plays with the light (stainless steel bricks that shine under the eastern sun, shade from the sloping roofs, etc.), it is sometimes transformed (with its colored blinds more or less open), the appearance of the facades changes with the seasons thanks to vegetation, etc. It can be read, with subtlety, through the interplay of bricks (layout, joint, color, texture), wood and a « speckled » water-green coating.


Material, Atmosphere

The bricks
We will work the facades with different types of bricks.
The material offers a multitude of possibilities through the layout (assembly of the bricks together), the color – here dark colors, white, and moiré patterns -, the texture, the color and the size of the joints. The corner facade, at the intersection of rue Carnot and rue du Coteau, will be given special architectural treatment.

The coating
For the garden part, we suggest light colors for thermal reasons because the plaster facades are very exposed to the sun. Going through the color palette of the city, we decided to compose the facade around a slightly green hue of water.


Environment, Energy

The thermal solar panels installed (100 m2) cover 60% of the building’s domestic hot water needs.
The photovoltaic panels installed (180 m2) produce 36,000 kWh/year, enough for about 30 people (average consumption 1,200 kWh/year/person), these will be coupled to a storage battery – one storage is enough for one or two day-night cycles to transfer energy from daytime to evening.
Rainwater will be collected to water flower boxes and gardens, which will serve to reduce the heat effect of the island. The vegetable garden will also help increase biodiversity in the city and contribute to self-sufficiency.
A compost will take place directly in the garden and will serve as fertilizer for the vegetable garden.

Reducing the consumption of resources, energy and water is not only a technical issue but even more a matter of habit. In this sense, the building aspires to educate its inhabitants to consume less, better and more efficiently, and to develop intuitive automatisms on their ways of using resources.
With a compact building and a highly efficient envelope, heat losses will be reduced to a minimum. Summer comfort will be ensured by effective sun protection and natural ventilation. The accommodation will be naturally ventilated with air extraction in the bathrooms.
Heating will be provided by activating the slab and low-temperature radiators. This system allows great flexibility in terms of interior partitioning and adaptability of housing. The supply will be ensured by solar energy collectors as well as the city network.
High levels of natural light will reduce electrical consumption. In addition, a management system for building appliances and electric bicycles via the internal digital network will make it possible to take advantage of off-peak production hours.
To reduce water consumption, we relied on water-saving attachments but also on devices that remind users to run the water for less time.
The simplest of these instruments is the hourglass, which allows you to monitor time in the shower.



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