The stigma attached to public housing can seem inescapable. French architecture firm Gelin-Lafon, however, believes that they have introduced a solution that makes social housing an attractive yet affordable place to live. In the project 'Rear Window,' the Parisian designers deviate from the typically bland social housing archetype to introduce a modern, staggered form that fosters a "modern little social utopia."
Parisian architects Gelin-Lafon unveiled the 58,000 square-foot development earlier this year. Outfitted in sleek enameled ceramic and broad woodwork, the modern mixed-use development is divided into two four-story buildings divided by a long tree-filled courtyard. To promote openness and social interactivity amongst residents, Gelin-Lafon inverted the buildings to face the inner courtyard. The complex features 70 apartments along with three ground-level retail stores that connect the complex with the existing urban fabric.
The 70 social housing apartments vary in style, ranging in size and type to maximize flexibility of use and choice. Within each apartment, floor to ceiling windows take advantage of natural light and offer views over the shared common green. By stacking differently sized apartments, the architects achieved a staggered facade that imbues interest and a sense of individualism into the project.