through the block

Through the Block

Professors | Larry Doll, Gaelle Breton, Jean François Renaud

Team | Katie Feldman, Yi Yu, Zach Walters

Located half on a new urban park edge and half on a rail yard wasteland, this urban block project sought to tackle the complex issues of building modern housing in central Paris. With land becoming more and more scarce, and an urban atmosphere like no other city, modern housing in Paris is one of the hardest problems the city is facing.

This project is an investigation of the seams between adjacent and related programs in a city block. By transforming the typical planar programmatic seam into an inhabitable spatial condition, we have maximized the potential for interactions between programs, views of the park and street, and daylight. The project included various types of  housing, office spaces, retail stores, a secondary school, and a recreational gym.  These programs were divided into sub-units, and studied in relation to each other. These units were then located three-dimensionally on the site based on their relationship to the three primary zones of the site and each other. 

At the seams between these programs, voids of three scales were used to create a hierarchical network of interconnected spaces. The primary voids are large-scale gestures that create public spaces, allow for views, and circulation. The secondary voids create the vertical circulation, and finally, the tertiary voids create smaller spaces for inhabitation and daylight. 

Through this Haussmann-like approach of carving the city block, and the use of the courtyard typology, the project captures what it is like to live in Paris - a wonderful conglomeration of density and interaction.