Bordeaux-based firms, More Architecture and Poggi Architecture, have collaborated on a ultra-contemporary design for a social housing complex named White Clouds. Located in town of Saintes in western France, the 1,886-square-meter complex holds 30 apartments made out of cantilevering white boxes with perforated balconies, which serve to let in optimal natural light while providing privacy.
The architectural team designed the social housing complex layout to maximise outdoor space. For the building itself, the design called for a series of stacked boxes that slope with the natural landscape. Each of the apartments was equipped with gridded metal balconies that jut out past the main volume. Along with the extra benefit of having a balcony, the architects avoided a central facade so that the eye-catching complex could emit a strong cohesive nature.
Related: Social housing project with two “faces” channels Parisian duality
The gridded metal balconies that jut out of each apartment serve dual functions: they let in an optimal amount of natural light into the living spaces, and offer a sense of protected privacy to the tenants. According to the architects, it was of utmost importance to provide a sense of personal space within the design, “Exit conventional balconies, terraces and loggias with their separating walls and shields of varying transparency, used to hide unsightly objects or provide a modicum of intimacy.”
According to the design team, the unique features of the complex were based primarily on the needs of the tenants, “The harmonious association of setting and architecture makes way for a design which, rather than closing in on itself and looking inwards, opens out to embrace the neighbourhood as a whole while still providing protection from direct line of sight and noise thanks to its perforated cladding.”
Photography by Javier Sevillas Callejas
It kind of looks and feels like a jail or a cage... Social housing, right? Training its inhabitants for what's likely to be next?