By Tim Kouthoofd & Piotr Szczesniak (Bygg Architecture V.O.F.)
Canal Saint-Martin, Paris
The neighborhood around Canal Saint-Martin in the 10th Arondissement is characterized by a variety of building styles and building heights. The typical mansard roof buildings contain up to 7 floors, but during the second half of the Twentieth Century many have been replaced by taller concrete buildings. The location at the banks of Canal Saint-Martin, offers the opportunity to build taller than in most of Paris’ center, due to the wide public space from façade to façade. The challenge is to extend the older buildings upward, with respect to the mansard roof.
Miroirette is a contraction of the words “miroir” and “maisonnette”. It is the name we give to a new apartment typology, specifically developed to provide roof top extensions in the context of the Parisian mansard roof buildings. By extending the mansard roof buildings alongside the canal, we find potential to add 140 extra dwellings in the neighborhood.
Miroirette enables extending above the mansard roofs of the existing building, without having to demolish the mansard roof. How do we do that? We execute the first level of the roof extension with an upside-down mansard façade, which aligns (in mirror) with the existing mansard roof. The reflection in the canal reveals the respectfulness of the intervention to the architecture.
That way, we keep the elegance of the mansard roof. Every next floor of the extension will have the maximum floor surface available, despite of the existing building ending with a mansard roof. That way we make maximum use of the perimeter of the plot.