Chambre de bonne By Antonio Machado & Lucas Coelho Netto

Chambre de bonne

By Antonio Machado & Lucas Coelho Netto


Instability is an invariable truth of urban centers. Every big city is built upon sequential changes in its urban web and landscape. This process reflects the adjustments due to social needs of each era even if in a paradoxical way, since the most important urban plans do not handle in any scale the inexorable profile of the cities. Those changes call themselves so effective that denies any possibility of future modifications.

Nevertheless, Paris had its first urban transformation in the second half of the 19th century with Haussmann. His masterplan had a main goal to solve the city’s modal problem with new routes and large diagonal avenues, but omitted housing-related issues. In consequence, a huge process of expropriation led to the eviction of hundreds of families to peripheral areas.

Today Paris faces an alarming housing deficit with one of the most expensive square meters in the world and a bothersome percentage of unoccupied apartments. To solve the housing deficit with a healthy vertical expansion, the project relates to the city respecting the Parisian archetype and the city as a whole. Responsible for drawing the future growth of a city that is so far seen as perpetual and unchangeable, it should be developed through punctual interventions.

Morphologically the project is carefully settled in the context. It is inserted in Paris as a project is inserted on a bumpy site; Dealing with unique geomorphological characteristics. By those means, each intervention should be studied in its specificities so that the final product remains harmonic and the city heritage preserved. The visual perception from the streets is secured once the distance from the facade is given by the roof ridges. A void between the existing buildings and the additional floors creates meeting areas and city-observing areas. Above this first floor, the extension is exclusively to new apartments and studios.

The structure was designed to use basically only Kerto LVL wood. Every piece of it is designed to a perfect fit. The only exception is the steel base that works as a connecting piece between the wood and the original building. The two-parted column is a strategy to make it lighter and thinner, breaking the common image of wood as a large-sectioned structure. To fix them together, a wood clamping wedge ensures that everything stay tightened.

There are a large number of benefits provided by a conscious use of wood structure. For example, the French government determined that new public buildings need to have at least 0.2 cubic meters of wood for every square meter of floor area.

In 2010, the building sector was responsible for nearly half of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. Our main concern was not only to use a non-fossil material, but also to create a more efficient and sustainable building by having a rainwater collecting system and the usage of LED lights. Last but not least, this industrial building system makes it possible to have a clean job site, so the waste can be separated and recycled.

City Above the City architecture competition

Plan B : City Above the City architecture competition 

Metsä Wood challenged architects and students around the world to push the boundaries of modern wood building design in the urban environment. Entrants from 40 countries created their Plan B to urbanisation using wood (Kerto® LVL – laminated veneer lumber) as the main material. The task was to design a wooden extension to an existing urban building. The entries were designed to 69 cities worldwide.

Explore the designs