Perimeter block, infill
Reine Blanche Postal Housing
Dollé, Beatrice & Christian Labbé | Paris, France | 1992
Image of Reine Blan...
Rue de al Reine Blanche facade

ProjectReine Blanche Postal Housing
ArchitectDollé, Beatrice & Christian Labbé
Address21, rue de la Reine Blanche/rue Nicholas Roret (13th)
Building TypePerimeter block, infill
Number of Dwellings15
Date Built1992
Dwelling Typesstudio, 1 & 2 BR flats
No. Floors6
Section Typeflats
Exterior Finish
limestone, cast stone, metal panels, metal windows
Construction TypeRC frame
Ancillary Servicesbasement parking, 21 spaces, neighborhood Post Office

Built on a very tight, infill site, this project is part of the program by the Postal Service to provide housing for postal trainees and new neighborhood post offices (see Oberkampf for a general description of this program). The site is quite shallow for a Paris block and the space at the rear, because the building is near the corner, is limited by existing buildings that extend further into the block. The Post office occupies the bottom two floors and there are 5 floors of flats above. The existing buildings to either side along rue de la Reine Blanche vary in height from 6 to 7 floors so the new design had to deal with this mis-alignment. The top floor steps back to create a continuous terrace. A zone of balconies, recessed walls, and a framed pavilion element at the terrace level marks the intersection with the taller building on the east and helps make the transition from the lower to taller heights along the street. This zone of three-dimensional elements provides critical architectural interest to an otherwise planar façade.

A distinctive feature of the plan is the curved cutout from the rear of the building above the post office. This curving court at the rear provides an oblique view of the interior of the block for the larger apartments on this side of the building and traces the spatial organization of the Post Office on the bottom two floors. A curving row of skylights in the roof at the bottom of this courtyard form, mark the position of an administrative mezzanine level at the garden end of the double-height public spaces of the Post Office. This curved shape is also a dominant feature of the typical apartment floor that is zoned with two studio flats and a small 2 bedroom apartment facing the street and larger dwelling that follows the curve of the back of the building. A second narrow court lets light into the building to the east and the lobby and apartment spaces along the side. The rear apartment is an example of the unusual, flexible living spaces commissioned by the Post Office in their housing program for young families.

The Post Office function is expressed in the street façade as an essentially blank limestone wall with a continuous clerestory window, minimal doors for the post office and apartment lobby, and the ATM and postal drop boxes. The apartment entrance marks the bottom of the zone of balconies. The upper wall of the façade is finished in cast stone panels and horizontal strip windows and the large framed opening of the balcony area and the covered pavilion at the terrace level are painted plaster. Aluminum panels are used on the rear façade and a combination of square and horizontal strip windows.

Le Moniteur Architecture AMC, May, 1993, pp. 35.

Techniques et Architecture, Nov. 1993, pp. 61.

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