Architecture

The Third Façade

LECHEVALLIER Vincent
École nationale supérieure d'architecture de Paris-Belleville, Paris
France

Project idea

The project is located in Taipei, Taiwan, on the Ximen site, a district well knows to deals with several aspects, such as culture, night life, tourism and economy. The actual building on the site is made of an assemblage of shops stacked on two levels, not really connected to each other. Through the years, the building grows without considering the Red House, the iconic Taipei heritage building. As a result, the Red House is now in the shadows of the market place.
We can observe currently a separation between the day and the night activities. One of my main goal is to create spaces and situations to allow the confrontation between the different users of the site. The idea is to bring mixity by adding a third façade in the hearth of the project, which will take the form of an elevated urban street, and connect all of the protagonists of the site. From this skywalk, the habitants should fill all his needs and make the transition between the city and the living as soft as possible. The shops and services spread all along the inner street will create a city in the city, positioned as a “third place”, offering a new space of living between your house and your work place.

Because it was technically impossible to make the skywalk reaching all the floors, the project chooses to develop the vertical circulation inside the living units. As a result, the living units will develop the principles of a cluster but in a vertical way. Each floor will offer a different level of intimacy. From the big common shared space to the most intimate space of your room, you will find the place with the good level of privacy according to your mood.
By reorganizing the daily commute inside one single edifice, the inhabitants will support the economy of the whole building by covering all of their day-needs just by reaching different spots on the elevated skywalk. In the same way, some elements of the program are shared with the citizens to add more value and mixity inside the project. At the intersection of the public and the private, larges gathering place offer to the city spaces encouraging creation and meetings.
The first objective is to create porosity between the street and the publics places in the center. Then we can add the residential programme on top of the shops. Finally, because this project aims to serve the community, we need a large number of facilities. Actually, the restaurants offer more capacity than the total amount of habitants. And if we take into account the 52 jobs created in this project, we could employ 37% of the habitants. The rest of them will not occupy a third of the place of the project, which means that’s these installations could also serve the citizen from the whole district.

Project description

Because the apartments are shared by various forms of flatshare, inside of the clusters, each floor is clearly identified by his level of privacy and offer different types of space for all the needs.
The inner street should provide calm and serenity to the inhabitants, while maintaining by large claddings a total control of privacy and light.
During the day, the street is crowded of shoppers meanwhile the city places are empty because there are really difficult to reach. But when the night comes, we observe the opposite effect. The shops on the street are close, but the urban place is now animated by fancy bars and coffees all night long. This hybrid urban place will encourage people to go out of their homes, creating news opportunity of gatherings. Two new urban places are created on each side of the historical building, offering some space to admire it. The axis of view thought the Red House are worked in order to highlight some diagonal views, which will multiply the points of view while the visitor is getting closer to the landmark building.
The general form of the building should reflect the interior organization. The facade is thinking as a « live section », showing on the street a typical slice of a regular building, emphasizing the daily movement inside the apartments. The most intimates spaces hide their privacy under layers of cladding panels and inner circulation, to preserve quality of living inside a very dense area even if they all use the facilities of the project at the same time.
Finally, in order to connect the inhabitants, the shops, and the city all together, a long skywalk will unfold all along the buildings.

By surrounding one of the oldest building in Taipei, the project should respect the value of this heritage by opening it to the city. The new project should showcase the discovery of the Red House from the visitor, especially when they come from the MRT Station just few meters away. Moreover, the volumes are positioned in order to offer to everyone direct view on the Red House, and to limit shading between one side to the other.

Technical information

The first objective is to create some openings in the wall of the actuals shops in order to create porosity between the street and the publics places in the center. Moreover, the volumes are positioned in order to offer to everyone direct view on the Red House, and to limit shading between one side to the other. The axis of view thought the Red House are worked in order to highlight some diagonal views, which will multiply the points of view while the visitor is getting closer to the building and to improve the visual impact of this landmark building.
Then I developed a project which play with several levels of Privacies. Starting from the basic commuting scheme, the project aims to redefine the traditional model of residence by introducing a concept of Third place, which will create an interface between housing and economy. The Third place is a concept which define all the places located between your home and your work.. Like an autonomous house, each population of the project should cover all of his day-needs just by reaching different spots on the elevated skywalk. By this way, we can redefine the ways to circulate inside of the building, from the public space to the most intimate room in your apartment. To connect the inhabitants, the shops, and the city all together, a long skywalk will unfold all along the buildings. and connect every entrances of the houses.
Then the vertical circulation is extended inside the apartments. The smooth circulation will allow more porosity between the housing and the city, and create a better connection with economy.
The community places also aim to promote mixity and develop interaction between the different protagonists of the site. We can find an access square for the transition with the city to the entertainment zone and the economics activities. The skywalk should create an interface between the city and the living, to make the transition as soft as possible. The diversity of paths allows houses interconnections and his vertical development offer several point of views. On each side of the elevated skywalk, the project is divided in thin volumes. By using basic composition techniques, we create more valuable public space for a better osmosis between public and private and improve the space qualities. The thickness of theses volumes enables the living space to enjoy big openings on at least two orientations. Each room can enjoy various light all day long and the inhabitants can follow the course of the sun. Big cladding panels can move along the façade to fill the needs of the living space all along their days. The facade is not anymore static and change during the time.
Every cluster is made from a collection of small units. Each one of them is reused several times in the project to create unique apartments with a rational logic. This logic is also reported in the construction element as the structure offers a variety of layout possibilities.
As a social condenser, living in one of the clusters in this project doesn’t impact the quality of living because we retrieve the same among of equipment as a regular three-bedroom apartment for a family with two children. By being generous on terraces, the site only lost 37% outdoor space from the ground level, which limit is impact on the city. Actually, the restaurants offer more capacity than the total amount of habitants. And if we take into account the 52 jobs created in this project, we could employ 37% of the habitants, And the rest of them, even if they all use the facilities of the project at the same time, will not occupy a third of the place of the project, which means that’s these installations could also serve the citizen from the whole district.