Habitation Montsouris, 2020

Paris (France)

As the large centre of the French North, Paris is also experiencing a positive population development. In order to deal with this development and the ever-diminishing privacy in the city, 150 apartments were to be built next to the Reservoir Montsouris, including a rethinking of the reservoir open space.


In the middle of the noisy city of Paris, a place of silence, a place of contemplation is to be created. An enclosed garden in the middle of the city. Protected by walls, open to the sky. Some part of this wall will be habitable. Over a hundred apartments will be oriented towards the garden. The living and dining areas of the apartments will be opened up to the city. Otherwise the bedrooms will become a retreat in the green - a hermitage in the middle of the metropolis of Paris.

The residential pane acts as a kind of threshold between the noise of the city and the silence of the garden. The first floors of the building inhabit a library, various studios and commercial facilities. The library hall is connected by an air space with various studios, creating an atmosphere of working and learning. To be able to read a book in complete silence, the visitor can use an elevator to get to the reservoir floor where he can rest inside the wall, which inside functions as a kind of cloister.  The elevator, the connecting element between the city and the garden, forces its way powerfully out of the building and thus symbolizes the importance of the path into the walled green.

The apartments are accessed via three staircases and arcades. Here again the contrast between city and garden plays an important role. The living and dining areas of the apartments are arranged along the pergolas, which can be opened to the city at any time by folding elements. One is here a part of the incessantly pulsating city. A functional level, in which bathrooms, kitchenettes, cupboards and so on are arranged, functions within the apartment as the wall that separates the city from the garden. Through this  functional level one enters one's very own retreat - the personal hermitage, situated on the Hortus Conclusus.