Cité Montmartre aux Artistes

Paris (FR)Henry Résal & Adolphe Thiers

A group of artists launched the construction of the Cité Montmartre aux Artistes with the objective of finding an affordable place to live and work, at a time in which most of the units of this type in Paris were not occupied by artists, but by wealthier classes willing to inhabit innovative housing typologies. The first tenants moved in in 1932, but in 1936 the Paris public housing authority (OPHBM de la ville de Paris – currently known as Paris Habitat) acquired the site, because the artists were having difficulties finalizing the project. From its origin, OPHBM’s policies favoured the permanence of artists in the city. This tradition of mixing working and community life dates back to the Middle Ages, and was later developed as an architectural and social project under the influence of utopian thinking. Today, Paris Habitat, which undertook the rehabilitation of the entire complex in 2001, manages the largest portfolio of workhome units for artists in France. Artists and young professionals can thus find spaces that meet their needs to combine habitat and production within the city.


Wohnhäuser St. Alban-Tal

Basel (CH)Diener & Diener

By understanding the two apartment buildings with studios placed at right angles to each other as a collage of two building volumes that is a logical continuation of the surrounding urban fabric, this ensemble in the St. Alban-Tal district builds on Aldo Rossi’s idea that the city must be understood in its entirety. The two building volumes of similar dimensions replace two former paper mills, and are closely placed on either side of a narrow industrial canal, like a number of old paper mills immediately south of the ensemble. The western building volume accentuates the end of the central road through St. Alban-Tal and also flanks an elongated square along the Rhine. Lengthwise the eastern volume is oriented towards the river, offering panoramic views over the water. This is accentuated by a series of tall, top-floor windows emphasized by an emphatically protruding roof edge.


Quartier Masséna

Paris (FR)Christian de Portzamparc & Jean-Philippe Pargade, Gaëlle Péneau, Catherine Furet, Antoine Stinco

In 2007 Paris saw the completion of the Quartier Masséna, a district consisting of 17 urban blocks, a park (Jardins Grands Moulins Abbé Pierre) and a number of transformed existing buildings (Bibliothèque des Grands Moulins, Université Paris Diderot and artists’ breeding ground Les Frigos) on its left bank. In his master plan Christian de Portzamparc used the principle of the îlot ouvert (Open Block) to organize dwellings and work spaces and to provide residents with a rich, collective outdoor space. The îlot ouvert is best described as a fragmented closed building block. Rather than forming a single urban volume, the building mass of an îlot ouvert is distributed over a number of buildings that in turn comprise different volumes of varying height and form. The collective outdoor space is accessed via patios in – and openings between – the buildings, which are closed off from the public street by fencing that follows the building line of the urban block.


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Piazza Céramique

Maastricht (NL)Jo Janssen & Wim van den Bergh

Piazza Céramique can be considered one of the keystones of the Céramique district in Maastricht, realized from 1987 onwards according to a master plan by Jo Coenen. The plan provides for a substantial expansion of the inner-city area with an urban programme of dwellings and work and cultural spaces on the former factory site of the Société Céramique and (later) ceramics producer Sphinx. Whereas most of the residential buildings are U-shaped apartment blocks with green courtyards opening onto the Avenue Céramique, this urban ensemble is in a class of its own because it turns the urban building block projected in the master plan inside-out. Rather than a single building block, the architects designed a composition of three volumes on a (parking) platform that merges into the urban composition created by the surrounding buildings. This open arrangement ensures that the publicly accessible piazza and the urban garden located to the east of block B, which is bordered by the former factory wall, become natural links in the finely meshed pedestrian network that connects various inner courtyards and streets. Two high cubic volumes (A, only townhouses and B, mixed programme) on the north side and a narrow, low building volume (C, a terrace of seven dwellings with work space, designed by Luijten/Verheij architecten) on the south side are in perfect harmony with each other and with the adjacent buildings, which are all clad in the same red brick. The stoniness of the public space underlines the formal urban architecture of the two palazzi.


Schiecentrale 4b

Rotterdam (NL)Mei architects and planners

For many years, the Lloydpier in Rotterdam was nothing but a raw piece of city with mainly port industry. Now, creative businesses are flourishing where there used to be warehouses and where cargo and passenger ships left for the Dutch East Indies. Since 1995 the former Schiehaven Power Station located on the pier, which once included a battery house, canteen, transformer house, boiler house and turbine hall, has been fully transformed into a compact piece of city with new programming (music and television studio, event hall, offices and restaurant). In addition to this redevelopment, two buildings have been added to the complex: Kraton 230 (radio and television station RTV Rijnmond’s office and studios) and Schiecentrale 4b, a flexible residential and commercial building that mainly accommodates companies from the creative sector.


WoonWerkPand Tetterode

Amsterdam (NL)Johan W.F. Hartkamp, Jan Frederik van Erven Dorens, Merkelbach & Karsten, Merkelbach & Elling, K.P.C. de Bazel, residents and users

When N.V. Lettergieterij Amsterdam, formerly N. Tetterode, left its Bilderdijkstraat premises in 1981, a developer wanted to replace it with luxury apartments and shops. In protest against these plans, squatters occupied the building. Five years later, the city bought the building complex and the squatters, united in a single cooperative, were able to rent the building shell from housing association Het Oosten. Holslag van Nek van Hoek Architekten renovated the complex and performed a number of interventions to ensure that it was safe to use. The most striking of these was the removal of part of the roof over the factory hall between the buildings, creating an inner courtyard and escape route.


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IBeB: Integratives Bauprojekt am ehemaligen Blumengroßmarkt

Berlin (D)ifau | HEIDE & VON BECKERATH

In the spring of 2018, builders completed a striking new urban block in Berlin-Kreuzberg, directly opposite the Jewish Museum Berlin. The building is at right angles to the prestigious Lindenstrasse and next to the auction hall of the former Blumengrossmarkt (Wholesale Flower Market). The robust mass is five storeys high, 22.5 m wide and more than 100 m long. The architecture effortlessly connects the vocabulary of a residential building with that of a work building: a strong hybrid. The long sides of the building largely consist of glazed brickwork surfaces with deeply recessed, repetitive fronts. Its two ends have a sculptural urban quality. In the elongated southern façade, the brickwork is alternated with protruding balconies that emphasize the horizontality of the façade. The remarkably transparent base of the building allows for public-oriented functions.