An eye-catching residential block just outside Paris
5+1AA Alfonso Femia Gianluca Peluffo
It took two years of hard work to finish this block of four buildings. The complex contains 183 homes, including 39 social housing units, car parking (192 places) and a shopping centre of 360 square metres. The development occupies over 10,500 square metres and bears the signature of 5+1AA, the Italian architects’ studio formed by Alfonso Femia and Gianluca Peluffo, based in Genova but with branches in Paris and Milan.
The project is located in the Bords-de-Seine development zone of Asnières-sur-Seine, a town of 83,845 inhabitants in the Hauts-de-Seine department of the Île-de-France region, only about 10 kilometres to the north-west of Paris, along the banks of the river. The buildings occupy a trapezoid-shaped piece of ground in a strategic part of the town, near the large railway station on the Grand Paris line, due to open shortly.
The exterior of the block is decorated with ceramic tiles from one of Italy’s most famous manufacturers, Casalgrande Padana. The glazed and three-dimensionally shaped porcelain tiles from the company’s Diamante BOA collection were specially produced for this project as a demonstration of the close links between Casalgrande Padana and 5+1AA. The two companies have been working together for a number of years with truly excellent results, as confirmed by numerous international awards. 5+1AA’s most recent award comes from Casalgrande Padana itself: the studio took first prize in the Residential’ category of the Casalgrande Padana 2017 Grand Prix’ for this very project, named “The Sky over Asnières-sur-Seine”. The project stands out for the high environmental quality of the buildings. In particular, buildings A, B and D meet NF standards and HQE (High Quality Environmental) certification, while building C is also HQE certified. The complex is classified RT 2012 and is designed to make efficient use of materials such as Thermedia concrete, ideal for reducing heat losses, and adopts solutions that increase energy uptake from natural sources for maximum environmental comfort. One of the most important aspects of the project is its morphology, which is designed to exploit the orientations of the buildings with maximum exposure to sunlight so as to optimise the use of natural light. Last but not least, the project ensured precise control of all technical details at the critical points of construction, as in the case of the system for draining excess water deriving from the presence of a green roof.
The project benefited from the input of Danilo Trogu and the sculptor Louis Geneste. The distinctive base of the complex is in typical French brick in a variety of finishes, from smooth to rough hand made. As the walls progress upwards, the brick starts to incorporate pieces of ceramic, also hand finished, along with pieces of Murano glass. The upper walls are covered in diamond polished tiles from Casalgrande Padana’s Diamante BOA collection, and are topped by six angels that look towards the nearby city of Paris from their various positions. Alfonso Femia explains: “The idea was to reaffirm the value of decorative façades using ceramic tiles and ornamentation in the form of the six angels…The appearance of the tiles on the façade depends on the light: the colour changes with the seasons and the time of day. The different ways in which the bricks are laid and the use of different shapes of the same material also add interest without detracting attention from the whole”.
Casalgrande Padana, Diamante Boa
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): conforme
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): conforme
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): conforme
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): conforme
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): conforme
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): conforme
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): conforme
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): conforme