Through the adaption of our heritage, it is possible to create new places that take advantage of their historical uniqueness. The Chocolaterie site is exceptional, deeply marked by its past, by the presence of the Marne and the materials that inspired the project. Far from the dense centre of the metropolis and sitting on the edge of working class and suburban housing districts, the site encourages a reflection between urbanism and architecture.
How can we live in metropolitan France in close proximity to others while still enjoying space and nature? What kind of collective housing can avoid the urban sprawl and fragmented territories created by detached homes? The Confiserie project defines the northern limit of the Chocolaterie and creates a strong connection with nature. Its attachment to the geography of the existing site pushes the design of the buildings to be in harmony with the river and the winds channelled by its course.
How to live on a riverbank without fear of flooding? How to design buildings to support and protect the inhabitants? How can building design put the natural context centre stage? From these reflections comes finely built volumes, perched along the banks of the river and creating homes with dual perspectives widely open to the surrounding landscape. In the same style, the homes are served by passageways that offer new views on the Marne and the Chocolaterie, encouraging new uses of space while extending outdoor private spaces. Despite their collective nature the homes are close to detached housing in style: most duplexes are traversal with their points of access and windows protected from sight lines and winds thanks to the recesses of the facade. From this detail emerges the “pleated writing” of the building’s layout, which hugs the tip of the island and strongly shapes the identity of the project.