MORE architecture / POGGI architecture
best architects 18
Saintes / France
Javier Callejas Sevilla
A new social housing project in Saintes has totally reinvented what living together means. A seemingly inhabited cloud effortlessly signals the entrance to a recently rehabilitated working-class neighbourhood. Landscape and architectural design come together in meaningful harmony, showcasing the new development. The building is positioned in such a way as to respect the site’s quality, rather than merely colonise the given space. A sense of depth has been created, structured by footpaths and enticing visual perspectives, with the landscape slipping effortlessly in and around the architectural volumes, offering multiple orientations for the apartments. The harmonious association of setting and architecture makes way for a design that, rather than closing in on itself and looking inwards, opens out to embrace the neighbourhood as a whole, while still providing protection from direct lines of sight and noise thanks to its perforated cladding. It has no main façade, and no front or back. The three volumes making it up are compact, and the amply proportioned exterior private spaces are grafted onto them in accordance with their internal spatial arrangement and specific needs, playfully disrupting the line of the building’s façades. Instead of conventional balconies, terraces and loggias, in this design the outside spaces are extremely secluded and provide genuine additional spaces. The apartments flow out into these exterior facilities, thereby offering ample extra space.