This project develops in the city of Saint-Denis, in the northern part of the island and aim to reconsiders our relationship with the “outdoor” and with the nature. The apartments only have closed bedroom and bathroom : the living spaces are totally open and partially composed of vegetation areas.
The relationship with our neighbours is also reconsidered, by creating some spaces where the people can meet and share a moment together : a public space on the ground floor with a restaurant, and a playing room under the roof, with a panoramic view on the mountains and on the ocean.
Who influences you graphically?
I think that my work is influenced by illustrations of various types, espacially those created for children. I watch a lot of cartoons, and I read a lot of comics and books for young audiences. These are, for me, great sources of inspiration. That’s why I start, in parallel with my studies, to develop some projects of children’s books.
What defined the language of representation through which you articulate the project? What role do the sketches hold?
I see representation as a tool to explain the ideas, to highlight components of the project that can help understanding the intentions. I always try to find the graphical language which corresponds most closely to the project.
For this building, I chose to use a very colorful and joyful graphics to explain a utopian project, which can make people smile because of its funny dimension. But today, for example, I’m working on a slaughterhouse project. You can imagine that the representation that I chose for the slaughterhouse is totally different from the one presented here.
As the graphics also help me to think about the project, I always prefer to draw in 2D. This is the only principle that I apply to all my renderings, because I can not think properly when I draw in 3D.
Sketches are also a way to think about the process for me. They help me to clarify the intentions of the overall project before to draw the final object.
How important was the plan as a tool to explore your intention?
The drawing of the plan allowed me to apply my ideas to an architectural object. I wanted, for this project, to rethink our relationship between the inside and the outside, as well as our relationship with our neighborhood, with those around us. I also wanted to question the role of the architect in a project. If, in my opinion, it’s interesting that the architect can express ideas for a global project, I do not necessarily perceive the relevance of freezing spaces that will be used by other people.
I drew a very open plan, with a really simple structure. Within the structure, different spaces can take place : closed rooms and bathromms, semi-open kitchens, living spaces totally open to the ouside, and areas of vegetation. All those spaces are really simple to draw and to compose, and this allows the inhabitants to participate, if they wish, in the arrangement of their homes.
So, thanks to the plan, I was able to integrate my intentions to the final architectural object.
How would you define a city? What, in your idea, constitutes a ‘good city’?
In my opinion, a city is a large group of individuals who organize different spaces according to their needs and desires. It seems to me that a ‘good city’ would, on the one hand, meet the needs of all inhabitants without exception, and on the other hand, limit the harmful impact of human occupation on our environment.
The 20th century was rich of architects who drew upon the rise of urban cities as sites for architectural speculations and fantasises, did you look to any of these? if so’ which ones and why?
I was interested in many projects of utopian or dystopian cities imagined by architects, but also by filmmakers or authors of books and comics. At one point in my curriculum, I studied some of the utopian projects that Yona Friedman designed for cities, in particular the three-dimensional spatial city that he imagined in 1959. I think that this organization around a megastructure generates some interesting reflections on the urban developments, on the impacts of human occupation on nature and on the relationships between the different entities that make up a city.
Yona Friedman_ The Spatial City
If you were the push this project further where would this take you?
This project was subject to school time constraints and to some teachers requests. If I had more time to make it evolve, I would like to leave the plot on which I designed the project. I would like to extend my ideas to neighboring streets, to rethink circulations, flows, and to create more links with the environment, especially with the beach and the ocean next to the plot. And this, always in order to rethink our relationship with the outside, with nature, and with our neighbors. To explain these intentions, these ideas, I would like to animate some drawings, to create some cinematic sequences. It seems to me that this would be particularly relevant to express large-scale urban sequences.