When people start saying a neighborhood has reached its "critical mass of ugliness," it's probably a good time to give it a facelift. And that's exactly what architects Hamonic + Masson did for Villiot-Râpée in Paris with two separate blocks of terraced apartments near the Seine River. Clad in a striking combination of aluminum and colored glass (green, of course), the 62 council flats reflect a growing need among Parisians to be closer to nature while still taking advantage of their urban proximity. Wrapped in generous serpentine terraces, the apartments also do a super job of meeting the Paris Climate Plan's stringent energy-efficiency requirements.
Each of the 62 flats have three rooms, 66 square meters of floor space, and a compact space-saving arrangement. Even so, tall windows allow for plenty of natural light to permeate deep into the units and reduce the need to use artificial light – which helps a ton being that the city enforces a strict energy code. Also sound-proof, the apartments’ biggest allure lies in their shimmering facade and wide terraces that remind us somewhat of Herzon & Meuron’s terraced apartments in Beirut.
Excess sunlight bounces off the aluminum facade but the colored glass absorbs just enough to give the terraces ambience and shade. A crucial space that residents cling to for a sense of being connected to the outdoors, the broad balconies that wrap right around both building blocks in a fluid, twisted motion definitely help to take the ugly out of this once forsaken neighborhood.