Perimeter block, infillSlab, point-accessSlab, corridorSlab, gallery-access, skip stop
Léon-Maurice Nordmann Apartments
Chavannes, Patrick | Paris, France | 1993
Image of Léon-Mauri...
East (garden) facade, detail.

ProjectLéon-Maurice Nordmann Apartments
ArchitectChavannes, Patrick
Address156, rue Léon-Maurice Nordmann
Building TypePerimeter block, infill
Slab, gallery-access, skip stop
Slab, point-access
Number of Dwellings18
Date Built1993
Dwelling Types2 BR flats andmaisonettes
No. Floors3,5,& 9
Section Typeflats and maisonettes
Exterior Finish
cast stone, glass curtain wall, metal grilles
Construction TypeRC frame
Ancillary Servicesbasement parking

Patrick Chevannes was the pupil of both Henri Gaudin and Jean-Pierre Buffi and the influence of both of these architects can be seen in this project (see Gaudin's Ménilmontant apts., 1986 & Buffi's Vandrezzane apts., 1990). Built on a very difficult, deep, infill site, the building volume had to adapt to the 2, 3, and 4-story buildings and open spaces along rue Nordmann while backing up to the 10-story blocks along rue de la Santé to the west. Rather than the typical infill building along Nordmann, opening to the interior of the block, which would have been 9 stories tall, Chavannes placed a narrow 9-story tower up against the existing tall block to the west and extended a lower 5-story slab the full depth of the site parallel to rue de la Santé, but at an angle to Nordmann. The narrow lower block faces a terraced garden to the east and is depressed one floor below grade. The tower takes the form of an articulated element that steps down from the 9-story height to a lower 4-story element along Nordmann. The lower part of the tower makes reference to the lower buildings along Nordmann and also forms an interpenetrating mass with the garden slab and its exterior materials match those of the street facades rather than those of the garden slab.

The tower contains the elevator and stair and flats that change from larger dwellings at the lower floors to smaller apartments as the tower steps back. The building lobby is in the base of the tower where there is a view of the terraced garden. The garage is entered from the lower part of the tower along Nordmann. Connecting from the tower, the slab element extends to the north edge of the site. This element is horizontally divided into three upper floors of flats and a recessed two-story zone of maisonettes below, that open directly to the garden. The terraced on the west and is connected to the upper floor of each maisonette by a narrow bridge element The horizontal division into flats and maisonettes is further emphasized by a continuous glazed solarium with operating windows, about a meter in depth, which cantilevers toward the garden on the upper three floors. This balcony/solarium is detailed as a semi-detached grillage of glass and aluminum. The apartments in the slab element are zoned with plumbing and stairs along the party wall to the west but have glazed living spaces facing the garden. A similar aluminum grillage has been applied to the east side of the 9-story tower, however, cast stone details are used along Nordmann. There are two flats per floor in the upper three levels with entrance to one from the tower lobby while access at the opposite end is along the edge of the garden to a stair at the north end of the slab. The maisonettes are entered along an open gallery at the lobby level.

A site strategy of building perpendicular to the street resulting in a discontinuous building surface along the street would, at first glance, seem to be in direct conflict with the closed nature of the typical Parisian block. The buildings along Nordmann, however, vary considerably in height and detail and some are set back forming small garden areas along the street. The terraced part of the new garden does not extend past the line of the tower so this landscaped zone along the street is allowed to continue and helps to screen views into the private spaces within the site and continue the pattern of open space along the street. While some residue of the zeilenbau typology of the north/south slab may be seen in the linear nature of the garden block, the infill siting, the creation of a private garden on the interior of the block, and the stepped nature of the attaching tower element are all highly contextual moves. About this same time, Chavannes designed another beautiful sheer glass curtain wall for the Post Office Workers Housing on Ave. Daumesnil.

Martin, Hérve , Guide to Modern Architecture in Paris, Éditions Alternatives, Paris, 1996, p. 113.

Architecture d'Aujourd'hui, Sept. 1994, pp. 80-83.

Techniques et Architecture, Feb-Mar, 1994, pp. 66-67.

Bauwelt, Dec., 1994, pp.2608-2611.

Exterieur Ville Intérieur Vie; Un Lustre De Logements Aidés À Paris, Èditions du Pavillon de l'Arsenal, Paris, 1995, pp. 80-83.

List all by: Project Name | Architect | Building Type | City | Country

©2002 Roger Sherwood. All Rights Reserved