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Name   LES TEMPLES DU LAC
     
Architects   BOFILL, RICARDO
     
Date   1986
     
Address   SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, FRANCE
     
School    
     
Floor Plan   12000 SQ.M.
     
Description  

Later, the project of Les Temples du Lac completed the initial plan around the artificial lake. Analysis of the composition of a formal French garden allowed the Taller to imagine this program of public-funded housing in terms of an ‘inhabited garden’. The lines of this garden were transformed into walls, and then housing. The layout of the housing enters into a play of natural elements—a lake, a garden—that contribute to the design of the final project.

From the design of the moulds on the façades to their simple decoration in unadorned concrete and the composition of this concrete, the Taller worked to develop a system of proportions and textures that fit the aesthetic of the ‘classical’ project imagined from the very beginning. Given the restrictions of building standards, codes, and prices, the practical realisation of this project required a redefinition of existing technology—especially when it came to prefabricated components. New forms and new textures were invented and put to use.

All the living units in this program have double exposure, thus doing away with the ‘sanitary rationalist’ myth which imposes horizontal openings. A great freedom reappears in the patterns composed on the façades, as in the tradition of classical architecture. The façades define the exterior space. The street reappears as a place of urban passage and the square as a communal living space—a meeting place. These two areas are essential to the life of a ‘city’. The vertical garden city is constructed for the resident. Nature is present, without automobiles, but with underground parking space in order to preserve the means of individual transportation.

The Temple: this large, rectangular, four-storey building, with an interior garden covered with grass located at its centre, contains apartments with double orientation. The apartments are accessed through a small entrance adjacent to the living room. At one end of the building there is an apartment unit with a central living room and two bedrooms on either side. The remaining units are arranged along the opposite façade, separated from the first by a hallway and bathrooms.

All the openings in the apartments are centred, which in turn creates a perceivable transparency that stems from the double orientation of the apartments. The communal zones and staircases are carefully detailed: dimensions and slopes are comfortable, wall finishes and materials are carefully chosen, natural light is plentiful, and the entrance hall shared by two apartments is treated as a private space (with its carpeting, door frames, ceiling finish, etc.).

The Colonnade: these two quarter-circle buildings are made up of small individual duplex houses. They are accessed from the outside convex façade, through a private garden on the park side. The foyer and kitchen have views to the outside, while the living room, which is large and well lit, has two glass doors which open onto a terrace overlooking the reservoir. The stairs have a false perspective plan and are located on an axis, counterbalancing the distortion produced by the radial structure—in the same way as other, larger crescents designed by the Taller de Arquitectura. The interior stairs connect to the upper level, which includes a master bedroom with a view over the reservoir, two smaller bedrooms at the back, and bathrooms on either side of the central space.

Pavilions: these two four-storey buildings are both constructed on a centred square plan, and each contains four apartments per floor, with double exposure at the corners. The apartments are distributed around a central square core with vertical circulation. This core opens to a double-height hall, which is open to the reservoir. The top floor has large duplex apartments which correspond to the pediments on the façade.

     
     
     
     
     
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