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Residential Building by CoBe in Paris, Photo: Luc Boegly

A Home for the Homeless: Residential Building by CoBe Architecture et Paysage in Paris

Paris has a long tradition of laying value on good design when it comes to social housing. Avoiding any stigma that might affect residents is the aim of most public-sphere clients. However, even against this backdrop the refurbishment project by CoBe on Rue de Ridder near the Gare de Montparnasse is unique. The 37 apartments, including a communal residence for young women, is now available for formerly homeless people. The operator of the complex is the organization Samu Social, which tends to people in need in the French capital. With its yellow-orange, plastered façade and rounded corners the old training and office building, which stands on a narrow postage-stamp lot, was clearly recognizable as a product of its time. By adding three storeys to the structure, the architects have taken the vertical quality of the building to the extreme. At the same time, the recessed, tiered attic stories and their verdigris-coloured paling balustrades lend the structure a subtle character reminiscent of Haussmann. In keeping with this style, the once-horizontal window bands have made way to upright window formats. A primary wall of grey brick that stands before the existing concrete exterior walls, which were insulated with 16-cm mineral wool over the course of the refurbishment, underscores the noble character of the building. In the interest of community living, residents have access to a shared kitchen with dining room, a communal living space as well as a children’s playroom. Moreover, the client has also had several offices and a laundry room fitted out.

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DETAIL 7+8/2021

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