Here we live

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Introducing the idea that every place can be defined by a specific features like an address, a context, an environment. Living here does not mean the same thing on Place de la Pastille in Paris or in the Parc de la Maison Blanche in Neuilly-sur-Marne. The first question that comes up when we start designing a new housing building is : how do people live here, here specifically ?

What are the noteworthy features of a place? For instance, should we take in consideration a beautiful landscape that is north-oriented? Should we access dwellings with external passageways that provide natural ventilation and light to water rooms? Should we protect indoor spaces from their surrounding context or, on the contrary, open them widely on their close environment? Should we resist the temptation of designing compact buildings that are in theory more relevant regarding energetic performance, but at the same time knowing that the surface of façades and the amount of natural light brought into living areas will be reduced?

Our design process is based on two keys principles that we aim to combine : residents should be able to identify their own building and to make it theirs, and residents of surrounding buildings should acknowledge the new construction that is sprouding in their neighborhood. The question of how residents and neighbors will identify and appropriate buildings leads to the bigger issue of the context. Situations must be looked at as environments. This preliminary thought in mind, we work on housing without prior dogma, determined design reflex or pre-conceived forms, heights, thickness of elements… Each project should undergo a specific thinking and generate a singular and appropriate answer.

Housing architecture also questions topics such as permanency. When a family refers to a place they call "home", it usually conveys the idea that this place is meant to last. However, our living environment should be able to adapt to different stages of the family life : family can get bigger ; they can also split. And when it happens, living areas have to mutate, and this mutation should be made possible by construction systems designed for this purpose.


Here we live