A Puzzling Site

Like a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle positioned for a solution, this 12-unit housing development is a composite of three interlocking rectilinear blocks that are set apart. The spaces between the building masses serve architectural functions such as open space, ventilation, and natural light.

© Ateliers O-S Architectes, graphics; © Huy Anh Nguyen, photographer

Older street patterns have produced historically charming relics in the form of irregular lots, adding pepper to the urge for density. Such lots are like diamonds in the rough, sometimes misshapen, awaiting a sharp eye to give it a final shape, an embodied delineation of edges and faces.

© Ateliers O-S Architectes, graphics; © Cyrille Weiner, photographer

This housing development, with a setting comparable to an urban island, characterizes its exterior surfaces with different materials. Walls that face the modest garden space of the site’s interior are more organic, vertically patterned with treated wood and shutters to match.

© Cyrille Weiner, photographer

It all fits around a communal courtyard, potentially a place for social interaction and children at play. Natural ventilation and individuation of unit entryways are added architectural considerations worth note.


Written by CPG


Atelier O-S, architect. 12 Housings. DOMAXIA, client. MTC (BET TCE), consultant. Alfortville, FR, c. 2017.
Huy Anh Nguyen, photographer
Cyrille Weiner, photographer
Jakob Schoof, “A hard shell and a wooden core: apartment house in Alfortville,” Detail (blog), February 6, 2018, https://www.detail-online.com/article/a-hard-shell-and-a-wooden-core-apartment-house-in-alfortville-31617/.