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MAD housing at Clichy-Batignolles in Paris

MAD surrounds Passivhaus housing block in white curved balconies

Chinese architecture studio MAD has unveiled the 13-storey UNIC residential tower in Paris, France, which is its first completed project in Europe.

Designed in collaboration with French studio Biecher Architectes, the 50-metre-high residential tower forms part of the Clichy-Batignolles development of a former rail yard in the north of Paris.

MAD's UNIC housing block at Clichy-Batignolles
MAD has completed the UNIC housing block in Paris

The 6,600-square-metre apartment tower is designed as a landmark within the development, which is set alongside Martin Luther King Park in an area of more traditional housing blocks.

"The curvilinear structure is a unique landmark visible from many parts of the northwest corner of the city," said MAD.

"The striking design of UNIC also acts as a foil against the nearby Hausmann apartment blocks as it sits along the edge of Martin Luther King Park."

Curved white balconies on Paris housing
UNIC is surrounded by curved balconies

The apartments, which are a combination of private and affordable housing, each open onto one of the curved balconies that wrap around the building.

All of the apartments and the terraces that surround them are uniquely shaped. According to the studio, this was made possible by utilising a concrete frame and a double lift core.

Curved white balconies at Clichy-Batignolles
Each of the balconies is uniquely shaped

"The envelope of UNIC is defined by a series of non-repeating, undulating terraces that offer its residents multiple dynamic views of the city of lights," said the studio.

"Much like the terraces, no two floor plates throughout UNIC are alike to ensure that the entire living experience is as dynamic and full of surprises as it appears to be from the outside in both its affordable housing and luxury units."

Balconies of Passivhaus MAD housing
The block was designed to Passivhaus standards

UNIC was built as part of the 50-hectare Clichy-Batignolles development that will contain 3,400 homes and 140,000 square metres of office space. Set near the Renzo Piano Building Workshop Tribunal de Paris skyscraper, the development aims to be an exemplar "eco-district".

MAD designed the apartments to meet highly energy-efficient Passivhaus standards to align with the overall aims of the development.

"Like many of its neighboring buildings, UNIC had to pass Passivhaus building standards," said the studio.

"This required the use of high-performance window glazing, passive heating and cooling design strategies and a range of high-density materials that would further aid in its overall temperature regulation."

Colourful Metro entrance in Paris
The podium includes a Metro entrance

At the base of the apartment block, a two-storey podium connects to a neighbouring apartment building and contains shops and restaurants along with a kindergarten that opens onto an orange-floored terrace.

An entrance to the Pont Cardinet metro station integrated into the building is defined by a colourful canopy.

Skyline of Paris from Clichy-Batignolles
The block is in Clichy-Batignolles and has views across Paris

Led by architect Ma Yansong, MAD is one of China's best-known architecture studios. The UNIC tower is its first project to complete in Europe.

It recently completed its first social housing project in Beijing, which its founder Yansong spoke about in a recent live talk with Dezeen.

The photography is by Jared Chulski.

Project credits:

Principal partners in charge: Ma Yansong, Dang Qun, Yosuke Hayano
Associate Partners in Charge: Andrea d'Antrassi, Flora Lee
Design team: Zhao Wei, Wu Kaicong, Daniel Gillen, Jiang Bin, Tristan Brasseur, Juan Valeros, Gustavo Alfred van Staveren, Xin Dogterom, Juan Pablo, Cesar d Pena Del Rey, Natalia Giacomino, Torsten Radunski, Rozita Kahirtseva
Client: Emerige
Lead architect: MAD Architects
Team coordinator: Biecher Architectes
Executive architect: Biecher Architectes
Structure engineers: BECIP – BET Structure
MEP consultant: Espace Temps – BET Fluides
Landscape designer: Phytolab– BET Paysagiste
Interior designer: Charles Zana
Project management: Artelia
Construction company: Vinci Sicra Ile-de-France

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More images and plans

Floor plan of UNIC tower at Clichy-Batignolles by MAD
Floor plan
Floor plan of UNIC tower at Clichy-Batignolles by MAD
Floor plan
MAD housing at Clichy-Batignolles in Paris
MAD housing at Clichy-Batignolles in Paris
MAD housing at Clichy-Batignolles in Paris
MAD housing at Clichy-Batignolles in Paris
MAD housing at Clichy-Batignolles in Paris