Perimeter block, corner
Rue Petite
Devillers, Marina & Lena Perot | Paris, France | 1992
Image of Rue Petite
View of the corner of the complex along rue Petite

ProjectRue Petite
ArchitectDevillers, Marina & Lena Perot
Address58-60 rue Petite/rue Georges Auric (19th)
Building TypePerimeter block, corner
Number of Dwellings81
Date Built1992
Dwelling Typesstudio, 1,& 2 BR flats, maisonettes(?)
No. Floors7-9
Section Typeflats
Exterior Finish
stone, ceramic tile, concrete, metal glass, wood
Construction TypeRC frame
Ancillary Servicesshops, basement parking

Marina Devillers and Lena Perot are sisters who have practiced in Paris since the late 1970's. The firm is known for several large social housing projects designed in the late 1970's and 1980's. Sites along rue Petite were part of the larger Manin-Jaures Zone d'Aménagement Concerté (ZAC) redevelopment project for the area between Parc des Buttes Chaumont and the new Parc de la Villette. This sloping corner site is formed by the intersection of rue Petite and rue Georges Auric, an acute angle that is further complicated by part of an old elevated rail viaduct serving Gare de l'Est that emerges from a tunnel beneath Parc des Buttes Chaumont just a few meters from the corner.

The new 9-story building houses 81 dwellings and is the end block of a line of similar new apartment buildings facing north along rue Petite. At the corner, the 9-story block intersects a short 7-story that is aligned with rue Auric and follows the height of other buildings along this street. A complex stepped massing occurs where the two blocks come together at the corner. The two building elements also enclose a sloping interior garden that opens to the south. Along rue Petite, the very dense, planar, façade steps back at the top floor creating a continuous terrace. The stone surface of the north façade is cut-away at mid building at the intersection of the two oblique building elements revealing the balconies of several apartments and marking the position of the elevator lobby. A zone of shops faces the street. In contrast to the deep-set, small punched openings of the north façade, the garden façade is very plastic and open, detailed with recessed terraces, cantilevered balconies and a zone of maisonettes with integral balconies in the upper floors. A narrow zone of continuous cantilevered balconies is also used along rue Auric.

The overall plan of the building is organized into two discreet parts, each with its own vertical circulation system. In the corner element, several different sized smaller apartments face rue Petite and step in plan reflecting the complex massing of the corner. One large dwelling at the corner faces the garden and several smaller apartments line up along a short hallway and face rue Auric. The two buildings share an open terraced area where they intersect. Apartments in the eastern part of the complex along rue Petite are planned around a shared lobby area facing the street. These units follow a regular module but vary in size from studios to two bedroom types. The smaller units face the garden and some are through apartments that have openings on both sides of the building. The last apartment in this row on the west has a large terrace area extending through the building and has access from the service core in the corner block. A mix of materials are used here including a zone of black ceramic tile along rue Petite, stone wall panels, painted stucco walls, concrete balustrades, stained wood panels on some of the recessed terrace surfaces, and aluminum windows and blinds.

Most of the new buildings in the ZAC Manin-Jaures district have an anonymous, over-scaled quality that results from a building process that tries to mime the vernacular qualities of typical Parisian blocks but is built as very large individual buildings. But beyond the Haussmannian zoning envelope, and general pattern of solid street facades, sidewalk shops, and interior gardens, these buildings and streets lack the charm and detail quality of other older quarters of the city. The rue Petite façade and the corner massing may suffer somewhat from this problem, however, the very developed garden elevations suggest that the Modernist pallet of forms, details and materials still has potential

Le Moniteur Architecture AMC, May, 1993, p. 36.

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