The rehabilitation of the former offices of the Ministry of Army, located in Paris, 7th arrondissement, has led to the transformation oh three buildings, displayed in a “U” shape around a central courtyard, which is also included in the operation. The two buildings accessible from the street – building 10 and building 100 – were built during the 18th century and are protected by the Plan de Sauvegarde et de Mise en Valeur (Safeguarding and Enhancement Plan). Building 200 – made of two wings on the eastern and northern side of the parcel which comes together to form a right angle – was built at the end of the 1960s. Our project was organized around the central courtyard, conceived as a “fifth façade” and as a “shared void” in which uses multiply. The ground draws a slight rope, starting from the porch and up to the gymnasium, before fading toward the parcel bottom while intertwining both mineral and vegetal layouts.
The new dimensions, distributions and accesses allow to regulate the flows of inhabitants and users of both the nursery home and the sport facility, and to sooth the paths that lead to the 254 apartments.
The historical character of buildings 10 and 100, located along rue Saint-Dominique, display many assets. The decorative elements are restored, and the proportions of the interior volumes restituted so as to improve the architectural qualities of the former offices.
On the South and East facades of the building 200, an exoskeleton hosts exterior space. Balconies, loggias and terraces are treated as “outdoor rooms”.
All the structural elements are preserved to ensure a balanced and rational mutation from offices to accommodations.
The courtyard enables many uses to take place: resting, eating, working, reading, meeting, gardening, etc. It articulates the different and imbricated programs, and distribute the accesses, including to the public equipment. The hanging garden, to which anyone can visit, shelters the gymnasium, partially underground and benefiting from natural light. The nursery home is set in the base of building 200, and expands inside the new extension built on the South-East façade, under which unfolds the protected courtyard for the children.
The project allows to transform a closed, monofunctional site into a new urban section which opens up onto the city, while preserving most of the existing elements. The refurbished site now lives at the pace of both the inhabitants and of the many activities that it offers.