Strip of 6 Appartments in Eze
STRIP OF SIX APARTMENTS IN EZE (2007) Site/Programme The site of the project is located at the entry to the village of Eze, nestled between a national bypass and a local road. The terrain is steep and supported by a large stone retaining wall in the lower section of the plot. The site faces south and profits from 180° vistas toward the dramatic coastline, the Mediterranean and the spectacular old village of Eze. The programme, (a strip of six apartments, 3 x2 room ‘simplexes’ and 3 x3room ‘duplexes’ all served by a communal open air corridor) was defined early in the initial draft to exploit fully the potential of the plot in terms of surface, typologies and parking. Rapport with the Site The plunging viewpoint over the site required a careful attention to the roof, truly a ‘fifth façade’ and the only one visible from the road above. The surrounding landscape demanded a rapport with the building and the architecture was thus approached accordingly. The entry to the residence was designed with consideration to the horizon line and suggests an extended ‘belvédère’ (viewing point), prolonging the public space toward the panorama. Following local building guidelines regarding view constraints, the challenge was to persuade the client that ‘nothing must surpass the level of the road above’. The maximum height of the building was consequently defined by the level of the road above. The plunging perception of the downhill façade exaggerates the powerful presence of the site. The seemingly overhanging apartments are projected towards the void, benefiting from an atmospheric position in suspension between ‘air, terre et mer’ (air, land and sea). Villas in a Strip: The project is composed of two units corresponding to the two programmes. The three ‘duplexes’ are anchored in the grounds to the west and the three ‘simplexes’ perch on top of the car park. The apartments are placed side by side forming a strip and are connected and served by an open air corridor, which, for the duration of the approach to the entry doors, offers a respite from the horizontal views, instead framing the sky above and glimpses of the neighbouring scenery. Each residence profits from a private connection to the exterior utilising two typologies: a loggia as extension to the living room surface and a generous rooftop solarium. The steep gradient of the plot prevented the inclusion of private gardens in the programme and was compensated by the addition of these rooftop solariums, artificial terrains encased in wood. Structure/Nature: The distinctive topography of the plot and the close proximity of the countryside create an immediate dialogue between the project and its physical context. The downhill façade of the building seemingly floats over the steep terrain that has been left to follow its natural inclination downhill. Anchored to the ground on the western end, the building, a beam of sorts, detaches from the ground on the eastern far side. Here, accentuated by the slope of the access ramp to the parking lot, the volume of the building is separated from the ground, proffering a view of the truncated corridor, abruptly ended as if waiting for a future prolongation. A large wall, perforated with small holes dissimulates the corridor contributing to the abstraction of the sense of a domestic scale and to the notion of the ‘ascending beam’. To amplify the rapport of the object to its sight, the building seeks to evoke a project of infrastructure or of civil engineering. Structure/Usage: The span between structural columns is 9m, generally atypical in apartment construction and offering a maximum flexibility within the interior configuration, modifiable at whim and without constraints. Thus personalized installations are possible and notably the living room and kitchen are entirely adaptable (closed kitchens, American breakfast bars or central island styles…) Light/Usage: The two units are clad by a metal armour that folds and unfolds to the wishes of the inhabitants, proffering an ever-changing façade. Under this shimmering skin of metal, a floor to ceiling glazed façade is hidden and protected, comprising the entire southern façade and encompassing the loggias and bay windows. In a reprise of the ‘traditional shutter’, the sections of metal grill retract and blink like eyelids, allowing the landscape and light to penetrate the interiors. When closed they filter the sunshine creating a dusky light and protecting the glazed skin. Responding to the demands of the Mediterranean climate, these pleated shutters create a diffused ambiance and permit a multitude of positions. When open, the upper half of the shutter forms a sunshade and the lower half hides the view of the busy road below. The limitless possibilities for the positioning of the shutters ensure an infinite range of sun drenched interiors filtered by various degrees and this moveable component proposes a playful aspect to the building. The design of these moveable shutters uses the physics of simple counterpoised elements. The weight of the rising element is counterbalanced by the descending element, consequently reducing the overall mass of the object. The modules, each composed of a simple hinged framework of lacquered steel and galvanised louvers, calls upon a simple ‘low tech’ ingenuity. On the level of the bedrooms of the ‘duplexes,’ small balconies are suspended over the slope prolonging the habitation space. To resolve the delicate problem of separation between the balconies, one single shutter opens to form a separation device between the apartments. This subtle intervention, in addition to the continually changing metal façade above, signifies effectively the occupation of the apartment and thus animates the building. TECHNICAL INFO Client : Private Architects : CALORI AZIMI BOTINEAU (Jean-Patrice CALORI, Bita AZIMI, Marc BOTINEAU) architects Studies for façade shutters: Bahram AZIMI Engineers: Structural Engineers: TURRA Heating: OFIBAT Economics: LIEGE Contractors : Structural Works: EMB BUFFAGNI Sealing : SESE Metalwork: LABBE Wood joinery : MENN Plumbing CVC : AZUR CLIM Electricity : SYSTEM E Lifts: THYSSENKRUPP Cost : 1 400 000 euros HT Surfaces : SHON= 550 M² SHOB = 1105 M² Photography : Serge Demailly


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