Building upwards in Paris: a solution showcased by several projects

Building upwards in Paris: a solution showcased by several projects

Construction must become sustainable in order for cities to stay liveable. Extending urban constructions  upwards can bring important added value to buildings and the community.

Building upwards is a simple and effective solution for visually enhancing and extending a solid construction. Because it is lightweight and quick to construct, Kerto® LVL – laminated veneer lumber – is an ideal material for designing and building wooden extensions in urban environments.

 

Huge potential offered by building upwards in cities

Huge potential offered by building upwards in cities 
 

The hyper-urbanisation of our cities is bringing with it many challenges. Building upwards offers a solution to some of them. Between 1990 and 2011, over 1,200 such projects were authorised in the city of Paris, while over 31,000 building permits were filed, and over 65,000 requests for authorisations were recorded. These figures attest to the growing interest in building upwards in cities. 

“It is now imperative to decisively, and on a massive scale, enter a new era in the design and construction of our housing”, says Emmanuelle Cosse, French minister for housing and sustainable habitat. “Building upwards is clearly one solution to urban sprawl.”

In France, the abolition of the urban density rule, introduced in 2013, and the implementation of the access to housing and urban renovation law in 2014 are giving fresh impetus to the practice of building upwards in cities through wooden extensions. It offers an appealing alternative for the city of Paris, which remains densely built-up and is seeking to increase its housing stock by promoting urban greening and renovation.

Prefabrication is key for urban extensions

Prefabrication is key for urban extensions 
 

Vertical extensions are a logical solution for meeting urban housing needs. Because the wooden structures are prefabricated, extending upwards becomes faster and more economical.

Involved in a heightening and passive building renovation project in Poissy, architect Laurent Pillaud views the construction of wooden extensions as an undeniable asset for producing and transforming building stock in urban areas. 

“The advantage of this urban heightening is prefabrication”, declares Laurent Pillaud. “Each extension consists of three or four standard modules and a roof; they are fully factory-built and easy installation runs within the day of delivery.”

The city of Paris also inspired remarkable and ambitious projects in Metsä Wood’s architectural competition that took place last year.

The Pods, a project designed by Fabrice David and Marion Briere as part of the “City Above the City” competition, has created an extension above western Paris in the 13th arrondissement. The architecture of this district, built over 50 years ago, now has a somewhat unattractive image. Californian artist Shepard Fairey had already created the impressive mural “Rise Above Rebel” in this area, the perfect place to revitalise buildings by building upwards with wooden extensions. His 40 metres high mural is visible at the corner of the boulevard Auriol and rue Jeanne d’Arc, demonstrating renewed interest in this forgotten district.
 
“Modelled on this work of art, we proposed upgrading the building by constructing wooden housing on a surface area 82 metres long by 16.5 metres wide. We wanted to push the boundaries with a design we were passionate about,” says David one of the architects behind the project.

City above the City competition

Competition designs for France

City Above the City wood architecture competition 
 

Plan B explores the possibilities of wood construction

As a leading supplier of wood products, Metsä Wood knows from experience that Nordic premium wood is the best renewable raw material in the world. When used right, it saves money, time and nature. To challenge preconceptions and explore the possibilities of wood construction, we’ve started a project called Plan B. In it, we have been planning how to build iconic architectural designs out of wood.

City Above the City wood architecture competition

In June 2016 we challenged architects and students of architecture from around the world to push the boundaries of modern wood building design in the urban environment. Entrants were asked to select a centrally-located building in one of the world’s most populated cities and develop an innovative wood design solution that adds density through additional floor area. The results were announced on November 1st 2016.

Competition designs for France

We received over 170 entires from archtiects from 40 countries. Below you'll find the entries designed for France.