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Experimental Bordeaux scheme wins 2016 AR Housing award

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A highly flexible 79-unit residential scheme in Bègles, a suburb of Bordeaux, has won the inaugural AR Housing award

LAN Architecture’s experimental community housing development, known as Carré Lumière, was chosen ahead of projects by CF Møller, Sanjay Puri and Alison Brooks Architects.

Judges Sasa Radulovic, Cany Ash and Je Ahn praised the victorious project for ‘encouraging diversity in the ways of living’, describing it as a welcome riposte to the usual contemporary style of housing which is often ‘rigid, prescribed and out-of-the-box’.

At Carré Lumière residents can swap, and later swap back, their winter gardens for inside space – for example adding a room ’in response to the growth of a family’ and later removing it once children leave home. 

The panel was looking for projects that showed an alternative approach to housing design and hailed Carré Lumière as an example of how architects should ‘break away from the formulaic approach to housing and create a place that can be a home’.

CF Møller picked up a highly commended award for its ‘gawky’ and ‘tough’ student housing in Odense, Denmark, which was described as a ’strong landmark and shows what might be possible at density for community housing’.

The new award was launched to seek out the best housing projects constructed within the last five years – from social and public/private to private schemes, from micro-scale to large-scale projects, from housing complexes to student residences to apartment blocks.

  • Winner
    Carré Lumière by LAN Architecture
  • Highly commended
    Campus Hall by CF Moller
  • Finalists
    South Kilburn Estate by Alison Brooks Architects and Studios 18 by Sanjay Puri

Judges’ comments

Sasa Radulovic, co-founder, 5468796 Architecture
’I admire Carré Lumière for its innovation, the testing of a new model and the ability to get developers to pay for it. In our work, we are in a constant search for what is equitable and fair. This is something that resonates when people talk about housing as a commodity.

‘As architects, we are often faced with a programme that demands, say, 100 units on a given site for a given market. It is upon us as a profession to figure out how to create a place that can be home – instead of the mass production of housing that has taken over the idea of the human.’

Cany Ash, co-founder, Ash Sakula
’Campus Hall in Odense captures many of the themes we talked about in the judging process: the programme relies on self-organisation and ongoing curation, and could be a way forward for the many new companies building student and co-working and living space. The floors will develop their own character depending on who is in residence, and it’s good to see that there are lots of communal areas to hang out in, as well as generous spaces for bikes and washing. With its cranked bays, and a gawky, tough look, the graphic of the building is a strong landmark. The project shows what might be possible at density for community housing, too.’

Je Ahn, co-founder of Studio Weave
’When most contemporary dwelling projects tend to be rigid, prescribed and pre-finished out-of-the-box products, Carré Lumière encourages diversity in the ways of living and enjoys the long-term evolution of the place. One thing I was keen to look at during the judging was the treatment of common spaces – specifically, what the projects were trying to do to bring public spaces to life beyond the envelope of the individual homes. It’s about the interface with the public realm and how it works. Housing can fall back on a formulaic approach – so I was particularly interested in how schemes are breaking away from that.’

0616 carre lumiere 6548

0616 carre lumiere 6548

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