The narrative begins in early fall 2017, when architect firm Java Architecture got an odd email request that the owner had recently purchased a ruined house on the rear of a Parisian courtyard and planned to renovate it into their family home. After a brief phone call, they discovered that this family had purchased a pile of old stone without knowing if they would be able or permitted to do anything with it. For an architect, the owner was either absolutely insane or a genius; without knowing the exact response, they agreed to take part in this adventure, which would ideally allow a middle-class family stay in Paris for a few years.
A walkway is littered with potholes. Java Architecture chose to use the existing building structure to create a completely new family house by adding three more stories on top of it after analyzing the urbanistic and structural restrictions of the site. If constructing is frequently regarded as an act of bravery, building in a city such as Paris should be regarded as heroism.
During the lengthy period between the initial sketches and the start of construction, the project had to be approved by the co-ownership, the municipal planning office, and the owner's (poor) budget.
The project was approved by a one-vote margin, the building permit was refused, then accepted, then fought by the neighbors, and eventually approved! When the project was finally allowed to begin work on the structure, it was believed that the owner was either a genius or a very lucky man.
A tower smack dab in the center of a courtyard. Architect rapidly recognized that by adding three more stories to the current structure, was like they were working on a six-story "tower" based on a 6x4 m area.
Because the intension was to maintain the original structure, the new structure had to be as light as possible, which is why Java Architecture chose to create the extra stories with wooden materials. This wooden framework is handled as a significant aspect of the project and can be seen throughout the majority of the interior areas, particularly the stairs.
Given that the building could only have one viewable face, they opted to approach each floor's facade as a separate aspect, reflecting or concealing the life behind of it. As a result, the main facade of the building may be perceived as a stacking of varied usage and architectural. The back face of the building, on the other hand, is covered with polycarbonate skin, enabling natural light to reach the staircase and commodities rooms. The translucent skin covers the building, forming a greenhouse on the roof and connecting it to the main front. As a result, when night falls, the structure changes into a lyrical lantern.
If this project appears to be a foolish bet at first glance, it turns out to be a fantastic experiment in how to maintain middle-class families in the capital city like Paris despite growing housing prices. Reusing the building's existing structure allows each and everyone to save a significant amount of building material, energy, and land. By doing so, you were able to develop a modern, energy-efficient building for a family in the center of a congested, costly metropolis.
Photographs by Caroline Dethier.
The Radius House is the young firm's first residential project, which was finished in the early weeks of 2022.