By Anahide Nahhal and Chapman Taylor (Ecole d'architecture de la ville et des territoire de Marne la vallée)
Paris is a city inhabited by more of 2 millions inhabitants, desptite the low level of buildings comparing to others cities of the same number of population. That is why we started thinking that the « City above the city » competition could be particulary interesting in Paris. Le Marais, otherwise is a neighbourhood that has been rebuilt over and over for several centuries. Mainly built in stones, we can still find some wood structures in old middle age constructions. This is a very typical neighbourhood of Paris and looking at its history, we found it interesting to elevate a building in there.
The project is located above a 1970s concrete public building, used as a public elementary school, a public swimming pool, and public baths. It is located on rue du Renard, a few meters away from the famous Centre George Pompidou. We found the proximity of the iconic monument very interesting : as it is a strong symbol of its time : the age of concrete and steel. We’ll create a new symbole in front of it: the age of wood !
The roof we settle on is a very particular roof, quite low regarding to the surounding buildings, it is divided in lots of different levels and some are used as playgrounds for childrens of the school. We imagined a student housing of 48 beds on top of it : 8 shared apartments (6x6m) and 32 single studios (6x3m) superimposed on the highest level of the roof, and a roofing wood structure for a multisport ground (12x24m) that could be used by students and kids of the school.
The student housing is a program that must be repetitiv and cheap, that is why we wanted to design a 3 dimentional prefabricated wood module. Timber engeneering is progressing and we are now able to construct industrialy in wood and challenge the synthetical materials in time and cost. Each module is 3x6m, can be transported on site easily, and is superimposed depending on the axes of the streets : creating shifts that can become common spaces for students.
Then, for the wood roofing structure on the sport ground we chose to use a Zollinger structure :
It is a traditional german structure in prefabricated wood. It functions with two types of similar elements simply assembled. This system is cheap, quick to build, and self-supporting. Furthermore, it is covered by a transparent membrane to protect from the rain.
The roof of a building is always the part of the building the most exposed to natural energy. That’s why our project want to be ecologically sustanable : we covered the roof of the housing elements with solar panels to provide energy for students, and a system of rainwater salvage can be installed as all the bathrooms of the studios are superimposed. Then we thought that we could plant a lot of vegetation which can benefit of the natural sun and water present on the roof, and why not grow a vegetable garden to teach parisian children how to take care of a plant ?