The 17-story building was conceived as a low-cost social housing block – one of many that popped up throughout Europe at the time. A façade renovation 20 years ago eliminated much of the character of the building – and worse – cut off much of the natural light and views. Rather than absorbing the cost of tearing the building down and developing replacement housing, the Paris housing authority gave the go-ahead to save the building with a brilliant scheme.
Frédéric Druot Architecture designed a prefabricated extension to each apartment. The lightweight sun rooms and balconies hang off the original walls and are supported by steel posts. The building’s existing façade was replaced by sliding glass doors. The building gained about 2/3 more square footage at minimal costs. An elevator was also added to the addition and an interior one was removed to add living space. The program of many of the 97 apartments was tweaked to reconfigure the floor plan. The apartments themselves were minimally disturbed by the additions, which meant that residents did not have to move out during construction.