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CAEN / Caen Clemenceau / France

The project consists of the development of 100 residential units, retail, and community spaces in the city of Caen's Clos Joli neighborhood.
The initiative Clemenceau Clos Joli Phase I, built by Caen Habitat, situates itself in a suburban working-class neighborhood. One-story, single family homes built of Caen stone dot the urban grid, originally laid out in the 1930s. The project appropriately marks the urban scale of Caen by providing a city gateway.
How does one integrate a powerful, iconic architectural gesture at the scale of the city, while simultaneously keeping in scale in harmony with the working class housing archetype in the neighborhood.
In order to respond, Architecture should renew its formal interpretation for affordable housing, by taking into account the collective memory of the Garden City. The feasibility study prescribed a 6-story structure lining the street, with a 4-story height limit on the southern edge...and this became the starting point for our proposal.
In order to synthesize the transition of volumes to the surrounding suburban grain, we propose "hilly" architecture, imagined as a stack of individual habitats. This assembly of housing units starts at ground level, growing to 6 levels along the avenue.
The project offers a reinterpretation of a "vertical" garden city, in which both privacy and panoramic sightlines in each unit are made possible by a system of stepped terraces. In the manner of Japanese stair steps, terraces are alternately offset from each dwelling unit.
This typology allows for optimal daylighting and natural ventilation. The north side ground floor serves as a podium for the building. It will accommodate retail and community activities, which will activate the neighborhood and fulfill residents' needs. On the south side, this unifying podium anchors the building; and the natural ruggedness of the site is rendered evident as exposed foundation walls in Caen stone.
Between each main building we encounter common gardens, hidden from view. Within these garden spaces, we have integrated artificial topography that plays host to diverse situation (playing, resting, circulation).

Client : Caen Habitat
Area : Residential area: 6131 m² net - Common space area: 881 m² - Retail area: 1228 m²
Budget : 11 491 000 €
Schedule : Design-Built : September 2011
Consultants : AG Batiment (contractor) / SOGETI (engineering)