The project is situated at the junction of cityscape and landscape. On the banks of the Seine, it constitutes an exceptional opportunity to reinvigorate the dialogue between the Val-Fourrée housing projects and the Vexin hillsides.
The architecture is conceived as landscape.
The design of the public garden reprises the Vexin hills with an abstract undulating form that is extended and accentuated with the building – the landscape thus becomes architecture and the building takes on the scale of the surrounding countryside.
From this point of view, the green roof resonates with the Vexin hillsides and embodies the symbolism of the project.
The desire to be one with nature, to be in direct connection with the landscape is also felt from within the building.
In the swimming pools, the public is visually connected to the outside through a glass façade that is generous both in its size and in its sophisticated details. No obstacle blocks the continuity of the swimming pools, the landscaped garden, and in the background the Vexin hillsides and the sky.
On the South façade, city side, the site has a single entrance, through an esplanade that overlooks the Vexin hillsides. Approaching the building from this direction, from the perspective of the Val-Fourré neighborhood, reveals the second structuring theme of the project, that of gradation. A unifier of urban life and nature, the facility is structured by the interplay of transparencies, beginning with the mashrabiya on the south façade and extending inside the building through a series of porous spaces. Views of the Vexin hillsides are carefully composed, filtered through a succession of frameworks.
The porosity and progressive gradation between urbanity, interiority, and the landscape beyond, express a desire to open up the facility to its environment. Particularly attractive, this singular and novel building introduces the landscape to the urban fabric. Its playful character is a dynamic element for the community, and its transparencies enable the public to make out its internal activities, and thus act as an invitation to enter the building.
Nevertheless, the different filters also ensure the intimacy of the users, who though not being entirely hidden, are not exposed to the eyes of the street. Moreover, from the inside, the views of the Val Fourré housing projects are observed through filters to singular effect, renewing the perception of an architecture that is often discredited. The extreme urbanity of the neighborhood is softened, contributing to the creation of a serene atmosphere within the building.
Water is the unifying element of the entire project. Above the swimming pools the underside of the roof follows the curvature of the building’s structure.