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Author(s): DeA architectes

Schweitzer borough

In today’s perspective, the planning and realization of new public facilities and housing projects in average sized agglomerations proves extremely complex. The town of Riedisheim and social housing building company SOMCO succeeded in elaborating an operation blending a nursery school with a community hall and 36 innovative lodgings.

The site of the project is a 1960s school ill adapted to today’s demands and regulations. Faraway from the city centre from which it is estranged by a canal and railway, it is located in the Northern district of Riedisheim that is undergoing a complete restructuring and requires the visible presence of public facilities. The solution consisted in building a housing programme that would prove technically and aesthetically innovative on the site of the former school into which the new facilities will slide. This programme was subject to a research carried out by the DeA architects agency in collaboration with the mayor’s office and the Somco to find the optimal volume and planning for this project.

The new neighbourhood draws its inspiration from old Mulhouse workers’ houses that were already operated by historic company SOMCO in the 19th century. These houses boasted many similarities with today’s eco-neighbourhoods: their density, mixed programme and space organisation. The Quartier Schweitzer conserves these principles of density and search for intimacy and the appropriation of the ground by its residents. The project is made up of 4 two to three floors buildings positioned almost in parallel on the site to offer the necessary offset for an optimal exposition of each dwelling to direct sunlight and to the views over the nearby canal. These buildings combine the traditional size of a two-sloped roof with an innovative conception of homes and materials. Each lodging runs across the building, thus benefiting from two completely different expositions. The wooden South-facing façade is widely open and enjoys the protection of metal mesh balconies. The partially perforated metal sheet covers the roof and the north facade, giving an identity to the project. Its light colour and assembly principle are designed to limit the heat during warm periods. South-facing gardens occupy the remaining space between the buildings.

The community centre and school are inserted into the built and surmounted by houses. They are placed on the edge of the road, forming the articulation between the adjoining public square and plot of the project.

Programme : école maternelle et 36 logements sociaux