[ MaO architectes + Tectône ] Nanterre Co-Housing

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Towards a new type of participatory housing in which uses are shared. The project originates in experimental methodology involving future inhabitants in the participatory design of the project. This project is the first contemporary experiment in social participatory housing for first time buyers in France. Therefore, the notion of participation and use of future residents is taken into consideration from the start of the project. In the context of our dense urban surroundings, the question of sharing and participation on the scale of a building (landings, garden, footbridge, common room, etc.) within a district is crucial to the creation of environments in which to live together offering greater spatial quality for the inhabitants.




  • Architects: MaO architectes, Tectône
  • Location: 14 Rue Ampère, 92000 Nanterre, France
  • Architect in Charge: Fabien Brissaud (MaO), Pascal Chombart de Lauwe (Tectone)
  • Area: 158.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2015
  • Photographs: Arnaud Schelstraete, Luc Boegly
  • Design Team: Fabien Brissaud, Philippe Dat Sénac
  • Civil and Structural Engineers: EGSC
  • Environmental Engineers: RFR éléments

Located where the existing suburban housing fabric meets the ZAC (mixed development zone) under construction, the project suggests a building height envelope from 2 storeys, in contact with single-family houses, to 4 storeys, adjoining the ZAC, to provide a soft transition between the two types of urbanization.
The building project comprises two buildings connected by a footbridge which serves all the upper floor housing.  This layout provides the housing with generous natural lighting and increases the number of possible aspects. 
On the ground floor, the common areas (multipurpose hall, kitchen, laundry, DIY workshop, bike storage, etc.) open onto a collective vegetable garden allotment. Here, more than elsewhere, the outdoor spaces contribute to conviviality and the interaction of the inhabitants.  The building project results from close collaboration with fifteen families grouped together to form an association and it offers fifteen unique housing units meeting each family’s requirements. The housing is served by exterior landings affording access to the each unit, as in any house. All the housing units are cross-through and benefit from considerable glazing.

Garden and sunlight :

The garden is not just a visually stimulating flower garden. It is primarily an area to be shared, creating social interaction between residents, thanks to the various common spaces located on the ground floor (60 m² common room with shared kitchen, a DIY workshop, large bike storage room, vegetable allotment, and common terrace).  The location of the buildings facing mainly south, west and east optimizes passive solar gain.

To the south and west the façades are pierced with large openings, creating loggias that contribute to passive heat gain in winter and to comfort in the summer. The principle of the façade, comprising large frames holding the windows, shutters and guard rails, is rational and it can be adapted to create a variety of models. This maintains the public space’s order, while creating variations depending on the interior uses of the housing units.

Footbridge and floor landings: a symbolic connection.

The footbridge is a place symbolizing the connection between the two buildings. This footbridge is one of the strong features of the project since it overhangs the garden and the common room, enabling residents to interact in a very natural fashion. The floor landings are designed as convivial spaces, large-sized areas where resident can meet, and enjoy their use.

Use of sustainable and recyclable materials :

The project is built using 25xm thick thermal fire bricks and a cross-laminated timber roof structure. The roof is made of natural zinc. The exterior millwork is made of painted wood, with lacquered sliding wooden shutters. The guardrails are made of galvanized steels, composed of thin tubing welded to a galvanized baseplate.

























from  archdaily


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