Kengo Kuma punctuates the city fabric in Paris with green design
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Kengo Kuma punctuates the city fabric in Paris with green design

A hospitality project designed by Kengo Kuma & Associates in Paris breaks conventional stereotypes about buildings by creating a green oasis within the dense city fabric.

by Meghna Mehta May 24, 2019

Part of an ambitious development above the railways in the district Paris-Rive Gauche, Kengo Kuma and Associates have designed a sustainable and innovative hospitality building complex, which includes an eco-luxury hotel (1 Hotel) and a youth hostel (Slo Living). Aiming to become a landmark for the neighborhood in the context of repetitive volumes along the avenue, the architects describe their thoughts, “Our design strategy was to create a sculptural shape as formed by natural erosion that will let the sky come down to the street. The work on the volume is defined by the modularity of the wooden structure.”

Dispersed façade panels come together creating a volumetric decomposition, blurring the shape of buildings from the idea of one solid box into multiple pieces put together. The warm materiality of the wood brings about a softened reflection along with an aerial touch created by the metal panels. The building comes alive in various configurations with the light that trickles in at different times during the day.

A porous form has been designed to create a non-building like structure, which hopes to break the dense monotony in the vicinity of tall buildings. An urban scale massing study was conducted keeping in mind the permeable nature of the design and was worked out in coherence with voids, open spaces and tall buildings around, that would allow or block the circulation of wind and light. The underground railway below the site also posed as a challenge and much care was taken while the foundation and structural design was created.

  • The porous form of 1 Hotel Paris breaks the dense monotony of tall structures within the context Image Credit: Courtesy of LUXIGON
  • View of the ground floor on Avenue de France Image Credit: Courtesy of LUXIGON
  • Multiple terraces and suspended gardens at various levels Image Credit: MIR
  • Dispersed façade panels come together creating a volumetric decomposition Image Credit: Courtesy of LUXIGON

The surrounding area is a populated and thriving locality in Paris, where the impact the structure would make on the urban fabric could not be neglected. The architects explain, “In the dense urban context of the Avenue de France, we felt the need to create a green lung for the city. Nature finds place at the core of the scheme, translated in the intimate public garden where all senses are awoken.” Multiple terraces and suspended gardens at various levels have been designed to be observed both from outside and inside of the hotel in a unique way. The depth of the façade, besides creating a comfortable intimacy for the rooms, gives place to a variety of local plants, an alternative that interestingly reflects the idea of Parisian balconies.

The floor plan changes at every level creating an intricate network of balconies, courtyards, green spaces, open and semi-open solids and voids that allow air circulation and ample light into the interiors. The form of the building reminds one of a simple architecture school exercise to understand solids and voids, of scooping out from a 3 dimensional cube to create comforting spaces for people to adapt to.

  • Hotel lobby overlooking the public garden Image Credit: MIR
  • Lobby Interiors Image Credit: Courtesy of LUXIGON

Reinforcing the connection between the busy avenue and the green promenade on the south, the public garden created within the site intends to resonate with the garden of the National Library close by. It not only increases the awareness of the structure within the district by creating a dialogue with the existing heritage building that the locals relate to, but also creates a continuity from the promenade into the new premises, very subtly, making its impactful presence felt.

The building stands true for its ideology to create an impactful structure that would evidently stand out and make a mark in the on-lookers mind. The architects have not only achieved something completely different and unique for the city, but also created an astute example that, if designed with sensitivity, thoughtfulness and ecological awareness, a building can be whatever it wants to be!

  • Restaurant on the ground floor Image Credit: Courtesy of LUXIGON
  • Guest Room Interiors Image Credit: Courtesy of LUXIGON
  • Rooftop Garden Image Credit: Courtesy of LUXIGON
  • Massing in the urban context Image Credit: Courtesy of Kengo Kuma & Associates
  • Layout Plan - Level 2 Image Credit: Courtesy of Kengo Kuma & Associates
  • Layout Plan - Level 9, Mezzanine Image Credit: Courtesy of Kengo Kuma & Associates
  • Section Image Credit: Kengo Kuma & Associates
  • North Elevation Image Credit: Courtesy of Kengo Kuma & Associates

Project Details:

Official Name of the Project: 1 Hotel Paris (Hospitality Complex including Eco-Luxury Hotel and Youth Hostel)
Location: Paris, France
Status: Ongoing
Year: 2017-2022
Site Area: 2,580 sqm
Total Floor Area: 12,700 sqm
Architect: Kengo Kuma & Associates & Marchi Architects
For Kengo Kuma (Global concept - 1Hotel): Project Director: Matthieu Wotling
Project Manager: Miruna Constantinescu
Project Team: Hagai Ben Naim, Nicolas Cazali, Paolo Amato,
For Marchi Architects (Slo Living Hostel): Adelaide Marchi, Nicola Marchi
Team: Isotta Lercari, Marta Guedan, Xiang Li
Landscaper: Horticulture & Jardins - Atelier Georges
Investor: Compagnie de Phalsbourg & Station F
Operator: 1Hotel - Slo Living Hostel - Bellevilloise - Nuage Café
Structural Engineering: Arcadis - Freyssinet?- Oteis
Acoustics: Lamoureux Acoustics
Sustainability: ITF Bruno Georges
Project Management Assistance: Redman

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About Author

Meghna Mehta

Meghna Mehta

An architect by education and a journalist by passion, Mehta pursued a crossroad between her two interests. Having completed an M.Arch from CEPT University in Ahmedabad, she has worked in the field of architectural journalism for over 5 years. Besides content generation for STIR, she continues to teach in architectural schools in Mumbai.

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