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Maison Édouard François : Panache

Upside down! In Grenoble, Maison Édouard François has just delivered a new housing tower that plays with the clouds. His particuliarity ? Less height than the "greencloud", a coronation of terraces with beautiful outdoor spaces to the inhabitants and whose distribution is not random: the lowest housing has the highest terrace, and vice versa.

After the UP project and the controversial Python, the Maison Édouard François completes and completes its intervention in the Grenoble ZAC known as Presqu'Île with the Panache tower and its 16 copper floors. A singular achievement, thanks to its latest levels that only accommodate terraces.

Although atypical, this distribution is not a coincidence. For having lived in a tower himself, the architect was looking for a way to "break the distinction between noble and lower levels". A social gap "terrible for the libido! Says the designer humorously, who also wanted to offer independent spaces, to allow users to receive guests without having to enter the most private rooms of their cocoon. "One day, I cut a pineapple, and there I had the idea": separate the balconies of the apartments, put them all on the roof (like the leaves on the fruit) to make real parts and more ensure that "the lowest dwelling has the highest terrace and the highest dwelling on the lowest terrace". Result: on the 42 housing that the building, 32 enjoy an outdoor space (not all, equity has its limits). In addition, each rooftop is equipped with a small kitchen allowing to feast outside without having to go down again to look for cutlery. Organized in a quincunx, they offer on the one hand a real (not to say surprising) feeling of intimacy, as well as beautiful views of the mountains, sublimated by the raw concrete structure of the building.

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Another advantage, and not least: the removal of traditional balconies allows to eliminate just as many thermal bridges, and therefore to propose a high-performance building from an energy point of view. Despite all these good points, some questions remain: in terms of home ownership and independent lots, nothing prevents owners to sell their terrace while keeping their apartment. What fear to see the richest recover the highest surfaces, and the building lose its panache?

The project is selected for the ADC Awards 2019 in the category IGH.

To learn more, visit the ADC Awards website and Edouard François House.

Photographs: Sergio Grazia and Luc Boegly

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