Urban Collage by Maison Edouard François

Gabled bungalows are scattered over the rooftops of bulky apartment blocks that are perched above rows of narrow townhouses in this social housing development outside Paris by French studio Maison Edouard François (+ slideshow).

Urban Collage by Maison Edouard Francois

Urban Collage was designed by architect Edouard François to contain a mixture of all the surrounding residential typologies in the suburban neighbourhood in Champigny-sur-Marne.

Urban Collage by Maison Edouard Francois

The three-storey townhouses provide the base of the structure and are clad with copper or zinc panels or terracotta tiles. Each one also has its own entrance from the street.

Urban Collage by Maison Edouard Francois

The apartment blocks span the middle sections, while the individual houses are dotted across the rooftops. Both can be accessed using staircases slotted between the townhouses.

Urban Collage by Maison Edouard Francois

Describing the designs during a talk last year, François said: "I cannot do beauty, because it will make the rest look ugly, so I decided to do something very ugly, to make the rest look pretty."

Urban Collage by Maison Edouard Francois

Now complete, the development provides 114 new residences as well as shops and parking areas for residences.

Urban Collage by Maison Edouard Francois

Edouard François is known as a pioneer of sustainable developments and green walls. See more of his projects on Dezeen, including housing set in an "urban wilderness".

Urban Collage by Maison Edouard Francois

This isn't the first project we've featured that looks like a pile of buildings. Others include a set of apartments in Japana hotel in the Netherlands and a furniture gallery in Germany.

Urban Collage by Maison Edouard François

Photography is by Paul Raftery.

Here's a description from Maison Edouard François:


Urban Collage, Champigny-sur-Marne, 2012
Avenue du 8 mai 1945, Rue du 11 novembre 1918, Les Mordacs, 94500 Champigny-sur-Marne, France

At Champigny-sur-Marne, respect of the context and the refusal to interpret it led us to take a unique position. The site is a grand ensemble that was built in the 1970's: a large zone of housing filled with towers and multi-story housing blocks near the old town center. The program asked for an urban renewal plan based on a new town center with shops and housing.

Urban Collage by Maison Edouard François

Assuming that the city is a complex body, we superimposed elements found on site: townhouses at the base, a housing block from the 1950's in the middle, and on the roof, single family homes. We organized them as archetypes to be read from bottom to top. The complexity of this project lies in the vertical superposition of these structural elements, shifting the three typologies independently.

Urban Collage by Maison Edouard François

Beyond the creation a new retail shops, the perception of centrality is also reinforced by the creation of numerous entries, gateways, lines of sight, and alleys that open the block to passers-by. These anchor the project in its context. The townhouses have separate entries from the sidewalk. Their copper, zinc, and tile facades complete the scenography.

Urban Collage by Maison Edouard François

The quality of the housing plays a central role in this new story: the apartments open on two opposite sides and meet the highest standards of energy efficiency.

Urban Collage by Maison Edouard François

Program: 114 social housing unit, retail, parking
Client: Paris Habitat
Team: Maison Edouard François, Intégrale 4 (structure), Nicolas Ingénierie (Mechanical Engineering), Pre Carre (landscape architect)
Area: 9 000 m² Net Floor Area
Budget: 14,3 M €

Urban Collage by Maison Edouard François

Competition: 2006
Construction permit: 2008
Delivery: 2012
Environmental Label: Label H&E (Habitat & Environnement)

Urban Collage by Maison Edouard François

Above: site plan - click above for larger image

Urban Collage by Maison Edouard François

Above: section - click above for larger image

Urban Collage by Maison Edouard François

Above: street elevation - click above for larger image