Quarantines have made European cities as silent and empty as cemeteries. The most fortunate left their homes in the city to spend time in country houses. In this transitory moment, it is necessary to observe and reflect on the changes in urban and rural life, and on new possibilities for meeting and social interaction.
Three interesting housing projects have been inaugurated in recent years, each reflecting a different desire for community: the Apartments on Ave. Maréchal Fayolle in Paris by SANAA, the Edificio de viviendas para 4 amigos by Lola Domènech and Lussi + Partner AG in Barcelona and the QVille in Essen, Belgium, by B-architecten.
The Apartments on Ave. Maréchal Fayolle is a big project for the most peripheral part of Paris, the 16th arrondissement, with which the architects link the space between the neighbourhood designed by Hausmann and the largest park in Paris, the Bois de Boulogne. This organic project is made up of four white buildings on pilotis, each with five floors and a total of 140 flats, whose curved perimeter not only allows proper exposure to sunlight but also recalls the forms of the nature in which they are set.
The Edificio de viviendas para 4 amigos is a project on a smaller scale, a single building in the centre of Barcelona, bought by four couples of friends. The project is located in a long and narrow site, typical of the 19th century Cerdà grid in the Poblenou district. Five flats, one on each floor, sharing the entrance patio garden and the roof terrace, with a swimming pool and an outdoor kitchen area. The project is very interesting for its technological use of local materials: perforated bricks and wooden brisoleils specially designed to modulate the façade design so as to optimise sunlight and ventilation.
With QVille we move away from urban areas. The project consists in the renovation of thirteen former stables in the Essen countryside into a small co-housing village. In addition to a swimming pool and wellness area, the 44 flats share a work space and a patio for conviviality.