AgwA . Ferrière

Metal . Saint-Gilles

© Marie-Françoise Plissart

AgwA . Ferrière Architectes

The building, which has preserved the qualities of space and light of the period of its construction, now houses a sports hall, an after-school homework programme, and three moderate-rent apartments. This mixed development meets the requirements set out in the «neighbourhood agreement» urban-regeneration project for the Métal-Monnaie district.

We decided to preserve as much as possible of the powerful modernist architectural structure. The two apartments are conceived as a totally independent structure hanging over the roof. As the existing apartment are already conceived as a bridge-structure, the new ensemble induces a horizontal stratification of heterogeneous parts contrasting strongly with the surrounding houses.

In order to reinforce this contrast, and also to match sharp financial criteria, facade cladding of the new apartments is realized in transparent polycarbonate, that is also used in the large glass roofs and façades.

The project focuses on structure and skin topics : archeological preservation, transformation, and resonance of new structural elements with the older ones. These structural strategies are all ruled by the understanding of the structural behavior, instead of the structural design. In consequence, a coherent diversity is made possible in appearances and materialities.