Bordeaux > Ravel & Saint-Saëns Towers

Bordeaux > Ravel & Saint-Saëns Towers

Aquitanis, the public social housing service of Bordeaux Métropole, wishes to renovate two tower blocks, comprising some 192 housing units. These blocks are called the Ravel and Saint-Saëns tower blocks and are part of the Grand Parc, a housing estate built between 1959 and 1962 totalling 4 000 flats, of which 2 326 belong to Aquitanis. The Grand Parc neighbourhood has now become an integral part of the centre of Bordeaux and enjoys excellent tram services. It lies within the perimeter of the Unesco World Heritage zone, thereby underscoring the architectural value of the whole. Situated on Rue Pierre Trébod, the role played by each tower block is quite different. The Ravel tower is an important urban landmark, signalling the entrance to the Grand Parc neighbourhood for those arriving from the Boulevards. The Saint-Saëns block stands within the perimeter of the site, opposite a secondary school. Access was the architects’ initial subject of reflection. We decided to create steps leading up to and around both buildings, thereby freeing access to the ground floor which thereby became double-oriented, with an entrance to the east. Once the piles had been disencumbered, the entrance halls became ample, light filled spaces, perfect for chatting with neighbours. This tiered base would be implemented for both tower blocks – it seemed essential that meaningful connections should be created between the entrance halls of each building and the public spaces beyond, fostering links between the residents and the population of the local neighbourhood and town. The towers are therefore to be given a new structural basis, providing a quality feature for residents and the local population alike. In the specific case of the Ravel tower block, the cross shaped ground plan becomes square shaped, enabling loggias to be created at each corner, supported by a concrete slab, and the whole is ensconced within a matrix to redefine the building’s visual impact. The glazed kitchens opening out onto loggias have been extended. Exterior insulation envelops the facades and the door and window frames have all been replaced. To the front, perforated sheet cladding is now deployed, positioned in such a way as to protect the privacy of the loggias. A non-structural framework – with the exception of the corners – makes the building’s facades more intelligible and reduces the sense of fragmentation hitherto created, smoothing away the ‘stacking’ effect. At the top of the Ravel block, the framework projects upwards, screening the roof. This crown could be enlivened with lighting effects to reinforce the building’s role as a visual landmark on the Boulevards. As for the Saint-Saëns tower, the cross-shaped ground plan has been retained for economic reasons, even if the foot of the building has been entirely reworked. The whole is cased in corrugated metal sheeting to lend a sense of unity to the whole.
program
renovation of the Ravel & Saint-Saëns towers
project management
atelier King Kong, Artelia
client: Aquitanis
location: Bordeaux (33)
Cost (VAT included): 5 750 000 €
date: competition 2015
images/photos: atelier King Kong
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