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Marie-Curie retirement village

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mission new construction – competition
client Community of La Garde
project manager CoCo architecture (agent to client), OTCE, Anna le foll, Sigma acoustique
date 2013
footprint 4040m²
price 5,9M€ excl. tax
location La Garde (83)

The Marie-Curie retirement home is not just a simple housing project. The inhabitants arrive for many different reasons; from physical difficulties, to loss of spouse and simple boredom. The objective of the project is to offer a series of collective spaces within a private environment, respectful of the residents’ need for solitude. The proposed two-storey building uses its circulation spaces as meeting spaces, with wide, continuous corridors and clear connections between floors.

A 1-3m high bank runs along the western edge of the site and a 3m wall to the east. These constraints persuaded us to raise the ground floor by 1.5 metres, creating an entry level aligned with the local road, leading to the communal areas of the building. On the other side, the ground floor opens up to a garden, protected by the existing wall, while its reduced height offers an unimpeded view beyond.

If this residence is to offer its inhabitants a high quality of life, an importance must be placed on the building’s individual apartments, guarantying a strong level of privacy. A balcony runs along the side of the building, offering each apartment a private balcony to the outside. These elements break up the facade and generate a sense of human scale. Following a simple compositional system, the apartments and balconies are folded and reflected throughout the façade. This framework creates a depth and richness, similar to that of a village. The exterior walls are rendered, with finishes slightly different from one apartment to another. The sun highlights these subtle variations, speaking of a sense of unity as well as a composition of independent entities.