2020. The old Caserne of Minimes in the center of the Marais, is accessible again to the neighbors of the district and passers-by. Rh+ architecture, in charge of the project, carried out a reflection that goes beyond the restructuring of this heritage. Rethink porosities and the urban lines, but also the landscape and services lines, are the main concern defended by the architects. The surrounding wall is deleted, and the ground level is drilled. The central courtyard becomes a fresh garden, lively and accessible from both streets. Craftsmen’s workshop, childcare center for the district, associative coffee and medical office are introduced into the ground level which reveal again the history of the site and the district life.
THE DIALOGUE AS PROCESS
Give back to the inhabitants, to the Parisians and to the tourists an access to the old Caserne of Minimes, is the main goal introduced by the Paris city council. The restructuration project is assigned, after a competitive process, to the rh+ architecture office. The office founders, Alix Héaume and Adrien Robain, defend the dialogue as structural element for the definition, conception, and the realisation of the project. In closed collaboration with the city council of the 3e arrondissement, they elaborate a “custom-made” program to answer needs expressed by the inhabitants and the ambition of the contracting authorities.
REREAD THE HISTORY, LIVE IN THE TIMES
Back in time. XVIIe century, construction of the Minimes convent, named as the religious order living there. The French revolution signed its lock down and the XIXe century its transformation in fire station. Rh+ architecture pays tribute to those stories with the preservation or the re-use of the characteristic architectural and heritage elements. The architects incorporate the right installations in relation with the current energetic and environmental requirements. The frontages are restored and insulated by the interior. The old design of the cloister, which has become parade ground, has been rediscovered thanks to the implantation of the fresh garden. It welcomes a rainwater infiltration system.
A CROSSED COURTYARD
Create porosities and urban lines is one of the main goals of the project for rh+ architecture. They suggest deleting the surrounding wall, opening the access, and drilling new entrances. The architects confirm the role of ground floors as a dynamic and porous base: some of them are lowered to assure a continuity with the pavement. Dual-aspect and glassed places has been thought to welcome medical office, craftsmen’s workshop, or associative coffee. Visible and accessible from the fourth streets around, the old parade ground becomes a crossed courtyard. New paths appear, some shortcuts are creating and redefine the daily trip of the district inhabitants.
A FRESH GARDEN
The old parade ground of approximately 2000m2, becomes a place for exchanges, meetings, and breath. With its 16 huge trees planted on the old cloister site, its limestone ground which offers a visual continuity with the ground floor, its green sides with fruit trees and bushes, the courtyard turns into a fresh garden. Parisians can meet there during the day, they can garden in the shared vegetable garden, eat a cherry, share a boules game, or have a drink in the patio. By the end of the day, the garden closes its doors. It could become, in the future, a green space open to everyone: rh+ architecture has already thought the adjustments needed for this evolution.
A CUSTOM-MADE PROGRAM
To the 70 social housing built thanks to the appropriation of the attic, it is added a complex of services and work studios. Rh+ architecture thinks the program in relation with the planning construction and the existing building. Plumassier, leather craftsman, ceramicist… 8 craftsmen set up on the ground floor of Saint-Gilles street, excavated and transformed as workshops with stocks in the basement and openings of the old windows as glassed porch. In the corner of the Minimes street and the Béarn street, a doctor’s office welcomes 3 social security approved doctors. An associative childcare of 90 cradles, with a piece of water and an adjacent children garden, takes place in the old stables, where the atypical ceiling heights are wisely highlighted.
A REACTIVATED HERITAGE
Used to lead huge heritage projects, rh+ architecture is doing a very detailed work on remarkable architecture elements for their identification and their integration which will gave to the housings all their qualities: beautiful ceiling height, preservation or re-use of few original wooden floors, creation of bricks openwork walls to remind the old kitchen’s food safe, visible beams, preservation of the ceiling molding. By playing with obligations due to the elevators access, by deleting some services stairs, by creating Parisians dormers for the attic organization, the architects offer mainly dual-aspect, atypical and with various typologies apartment: duplex, big family housing, housing for dependent elderly, student shared housing.
70 social housings
01 childcare center
01 associative coffee
01 art gallery
08 craftsman studio
01 offices complex
01 doctor office
01 private courtyard opened to the public
CHILDCARE AND HOUSING COST WITH
ADDITIONAL CLAUSE 13 911 872 € HT
TOTAL SURFACE 7414 m2
BEGINNING OF THE CONSTRUCTION March 2018
DELIVERY July 2020
Contracting authority ELOGIE-SIEMP
Prime contractor team
COMMISSIONED ARCHITECTS rh+ architecture
LANDSCAPER OLM Paysagistes
ENGEENERING, BET TCE COTEC
ACOUSTICIAN Altia acoustique
PHOTOGRAPHERS Augusto DA SILVA, Frédéric DELANGLE,
GENERAL FIRM GTM Bâtiment
ASBESTOS REMOVAL FIRM REDEBAT