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Kaan Architekten, Nantes, Subsidized Apartments

Minimalist Subsidized Apartments: Bottière Chénaie by KAAN Architecten

A new district is arising in the northeast of Nantes: Bottière Chénaie. A comprehensive urban-development plan oversees infrastructure and distribution of functions. At the beginning, the area was isolated from its surroundings. This is why KAAN Architecten focused on conceiving a lively residential neighbourhood. Correspondingly, the urban-planning design deliberately includes public spaces.

Urban Development and Concept for Use
The ground-floor zone accommodates multipurpose spaces including several offices, a supermarket and a car park. Above this rise two rectangular volumes, each of which features subsidized apartments over five storeys. A green inner courtyard bundles access and creates lines of sight between the living units. Moreover, the outdoor space opens up as a communal place of relaxation. Outward-facing balconies extend the living spaces with open-air private areas.

Minimalist Design
At first glance, the buildings appear monolithic. A light shade of grey characterizes all the façades. Actually, the shell shows a well-balanced interplay of materials. Precast concrete elements have been used on the sides facing the street. In the inner courtyards, the façade is clad with vertical slats of grey-stained wood. Large glazed surfaces and occasional light wells allow daylight into the bright interior. The supporting structure can be clearly seen from outside; it follows an overall grid pattern based on squares measuring 60 x 60 cm.

Clever Details
As befits the minimalist, exposed-concrete aesthetic, the architects have designed sophisticated details in a reduced design language. The windows seem to disappear behind the façade, for their openings resemble frameless panes. The various materials seamlessly come together, which gives the surfaces a certain uniform smoothness. 

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