lacaton & vassal

Tour Bois le Prêtre - Paris - France

The project has been developed by the french studio Lacaton e Vassal. The 16-storey “Tour Bois-le-Prêtre”, originally designed by French architect Raymond Lopez in 1962, contains 96 apartments in the northern outskirts of the city, but after 60 years of ageing and neglect the building needed a significant overhaul to bring the accommodation up to modern standards.
The renovation of this tower in Paris nicknamed “Alcatraz” has been made by extending the floorplates outwards to increase the size of rooms plus create new conservatories and balconies. A facade of corrugated aluminium clads the new exterior of the tower, interspersed with large windows and glazed balconies.
Floor-to-ceiling glass separates the apartments from the new terraces to let more natural light into each residence. The project of metamorphosis of the “Bois Le Prêtre” tower consists of a radical transformation of the conditions of comfort and habitability of the 100 residences of the occupied building. It develops on 50m height, 16 levels serving each one 4 or 8 residences.By addition of heated extensions, winter-gardens and balconies, the overall surface of origin of 8900m2 is carried to 12460m2. This new organization of surfaces and the precise technical improvements make it possible to adapt the rental offer while meeting by the creation of new typologies the needs for the families, to reduce passively, the consumption of energies of more than 50%, mainly by the addition of the winter-gardens.
The project has been completed at half the cost of demolition and new build, and this is an exemplary lesson in harnessing clever thinking and ingenuity to transform neglected parts of our cities.

[project selected by Stefano Zoli]

Built in the early sixties along the ring road of Paris, this high rise block of 16 storeys includes 96 apartments. The demolition, firstly
envisaged, has been avoided and a project of transformation decided. The project propose a generous extension of the apartments.
New floors, built as a self-supporting structure, are added on the periphery of the existing building at every floor, to extend the living
rooms, create closeable terrasses and balconies. The existing facades with small windows will be removed and replaced by large
transparent openings, so that the inhabitants will profit of the exceptionnal view on Paris all around.
Groundfloor the entrance hall will be refurbished. The floor will be made on a level with the exterior.
The volume will be releases of all useless rooms and installations to become a free and transparent space from the entrance to a
new garden created on the back of the building. Rooms for collective activities will be etablished on the sides of the hall. Two lifts
will be built to improve the access to the apartments.
The structure will be designed with prefabricated elements so that the inhabitants can stay in the apartments during the construction

- courtesy Lacaton & Vassal





Architecture as Resource / Imprint