Built in the early sixties along the ring road of Paris, Bois-Le-Prêtre high rise block of 16 storeys includes 96 apartments. The demolition of the building, which was firstly envisaged, has been stopped. The project propose a generous extension of the apartments. New floors, built as a self-supporting structure, are added on the periphery of the existing building at every floor, to extend the living rooms, create close-able terrasses and balconies. The existing facades with small windows will be removed and replaced by large transparent openings, so that the inhabitants will profit of the exceptional view on Paris all around.
Ground-floor the entrance hall will be refurbished. The floor will be made on a level with the exterior. The volume will be released of all useless rooms and installations to become a free and transparent space from the entrance to a new garden created on the back of the building. Rooms for collective activities will be established on the sides of the hall. Two lifts will be built to improve the access to the apartments. The structure will be designed with prefabricated elements so that the inhabitants can stay in the apartments during the construction works.
The Original Building
This last project is the result of a competition organized in 2005 by Paris Habitat, the Public Housing Office, following the implementation of a new demolition and reconstruction policy, sought to create a new block of flats for this location. The composed team was headed by Frédéric Druot and Lacaton & Vassal, which proposed an alternative solution, while remaining faithful to their own principles.
The original building was designed and built in the 1960s by Raymond Lopez. It was later renovated in 1990s by Tecteam, where exterior cladding to the façade was added which ensured that the building met technical insulation standards. However, the renovated façade created boxed-in, small windows which subsequently hindered the view points and natural light.
Lacaton-Vassal-Druot's refurbishment, removed the façade installed during the nineties and replaced it with large transparent openings. The project also involved a 3-metre-wide extension of the apartments through a self-supporting structure surrounding the perimeter of the tower. All of the works were undertaken on-site which meant the residents did not have to be dislodged during the construction. This surface area is divided into two strips; first one of two meters wide hosting a 'winter garden' and the other accommodates a continuous open balcony with transparent balustrades. Together with the extensions and modifications of the apartments, there was an addition of two new elevators, and on the ground floor the hall has been refurbished and opened to new a garden created in the back of the building. The solution is valued at approximately 100.00 € per apartment, a much more cost effective and environmentally sustainable solution over demolition.