Location: Paris, France
Designer: AUA Paul Chemetov, SLG Paysage, Jean-Frainҫois Schmit Architectes, Naud & Poux Architectes, Brenac & Gonzalez, Michel Guthmann, Petitdidier Prioux Architecte, Ameller & Dubois Associés, Daufresne, Le Garrec & Associés, and Brossy & Associés
Site Size: 7.326 acres
In December 2014, the Ministry of Housing, Territorial Equality and Rurality approved the development of The Boucicaut Eco-Neighborhood about 650 ft. east of the Seine River in a densely-populated residential and family-oriented neighborhood of the 15th arrondissement of Paris. Previously home to the Boucicaut Hospital, the redevelopment creates a fully-pedestrian neighborhood, open onto the surrounding area, offering high environmental quality, and respectful of the hospital’s architectural and landscaped legacy. This site has been selected by the city of Paris as its pilot operation for biodiversity, and as such, a testing ground and model for future urban endeavors. When completed, the development will include 67,769.58 sq. ft. of office space, 17,900.38 sq. ft. of retail space, 142,385.01 sq. ft. of open space and landscaping, 38,965.36 sq. ft. of educational space, 35,025.76 sq. ft. of civic space, 141 single family housing units, and 373 multi-family housing units. The estimated total cost of the project is $105.895 million.
In keeping with the existing appeal of the site, architectural competitions were held for each of the projects. Consistent, high quality designs under the guidance of architect Paul Chemetov were required to blend the new structures with four rehabilitated buildings (including a chapel) along with some 20 centenary trees preserved and enshrined. Inspired by the suburban homes around Paris and the former hospital’s make-up, brick was given priority over all other materials. The project has made it possible to create a high-quality neighborhood in the center of Paris that will at the same time fit harmoniously into the existing environment.
The range of housing offered is extremely diverse and based on innovative financing concepts, which mobilize, alongside public subsidies, all of the funding available through private mechanisms and initiatives. Housing types offered include public housing, rent-controlled housing, private rental housing, lease-purchase housing, and social housing complex for migrant workers. More than 50% of the housing is public. Across the various buildings, the ground floor facilities include community amenities ranging from a cultural center, to day centers for the disabled and apartments for women in distress. The public areas are both of prime quality and invite nature into the city. The Boucicaut Eco-Neighborhood is entirely pedestrian and includes a public square formed around preserved centennial chestnut trees of the local and metropolitan variety. Additional public spaces include 3 walkways and 2 pedestrian squares. The public areas are intended as places where not only the residents but also those living in the surrounding streets can enjoyably meet and interact.
Low-impact modes of transport are given priority. Each building has one or more bicycle shelters accessible at ground level, with additional spaces set aside in public areas. Recharging stations for electrical vehicles are included in each parking lot in order to foster the further development of this type of transport. Several public electrical bicycle and vehicle stations, a metro station, and several bus stations can be found just off the site as well.
Biodiversity in the city, energy-efficiency and water management were among the primary sustainability goals. Thick walls, ultra-efficient insulation, passive systems such as shading devices, and naturally lit areas are implemented to reduce energy costs while maintaining a comfortable internal climate. 40% of sanitary hot water consumption is covered by thermal solar panels placed on the building roofs and high-efficiency water systems were installed to limit consumption. In addition to the modern appliances, rainwater is recovered and reused to water the common landscaped areas and for cleaning in the common areas. An onsite company incubator uses rainwater for the toilets as well. Everything down to the carpets, paints, and adhesives are certified under the European eco-label, Ange Bleu or an equivalent system. In addition to green materials, special structures for the local fauna are placed on private lots and in public areas in order to provide for the benefit and maintenance of the local ecosystem. On the lots with buildings, the roofs are equipped with plant cover as well. All of the buildings have been certified environmentally-friendly in compliance with the City of Paris’ Climate Plan.