Terrace 9 Housing and Office Building in Nanterre, Architect, French Residential Design, Architecture

Terrace 9 Housing and Office Building in Nanterre

Residential Development in Western Paris, France – design by AZC architects

16 Nov 2016

Terrace 9 Housing and Office Building in Nanterre

Location: Nanterre, a commune in the western suburbs of Paris, France

Design: AZC, architects

Terrace 9 Housing and Office Building in Nanterre

Terrace 9 Housing and Office Building in Nanterre

Larger territory

This set of 147 housing units is located in Nanterre on the land between the
Departmental Council of Hauts-de-Seine and the Nanterre University Train

The project is part of Seine-Arche development, which concerns a wider
territory in line with the axis of Defense.

Taking into account the natural relief and the coexistence of various road
networks which pass through, the Seine-Arche development required the
upstream of colossal structures.

Aiming to attract here new populations from all over the department of
Hauts-de-Seine, the urban project was designed to restore the site scale and
habitability, through a series of seventeen “Urban Terraces”.

The project we designed with Bouygues is part of the Terrace 9, and is
situated between the tunnel of RER A and that of the A4 highway.

Terrace 9 Housing and Office Building in Nanterre

The block is bounded on its north and south sides by two new gardens that
cover the train tunnels: the “Promenade garden” and the “Terrace 9 garden”;
on the east by a monumental stair that connects the two landscapes; and on
west by the boulevard of “Provinces Françaises”.

This program consists of housing, social housing, commercial premises and
activities. The project is strongly constrained by the presence of tunnels,
especially the train tunnel which resurfaces nearby.

Terrace 9 Housing and Office Building in Nanterre

Urban Insertion
The site is a rectangle of 21m wide by 113m long, facing south. The project is stretched
on the entire available length and consists of three separate volumes screwed on a
homogeneous base.

The monumental pedestal of four levels which absorbs the declivity of the site is home to
a variety of programs: social center, business center, car parks and some housing units.
The three towers of eight levels each, only contain housing units.

The base, partially embedded in the slope, occupies the entire volume of the land which
consists of a series of platforms at different levels from NGF 37.80 on the south-west side,
to NGF 51.85 on the north façade. The base is widened by two generous patios that allow
optimal natural lighting to its top two floors dedicated to activities and housing.

The top of the basement forms a private terrace, at the same level of the Promenade
garden that runs along the north facades, it ensures access to all buildings, either by walk
or by the boulevard.

Terrace 9 Housing and Office Building in Nanterre

The base displays a regular pattern given by the identical windows, and a smooth
envelope of glazed briquette. The three residential towers have different architectures.

The west building is designed as a vertical uplift of the base over seven floors. It
measures 30m by 17m, and the north façade has no windows but an open patio, which
includes a large tree, it naturally illuminate the stairwell and kitchens of homes.

The next two towers are identical, each one of eight square floor plans of 22.5 by 22.5
meters with central core. Their plans, includes most of the flats on the corners, which
helps double orientations and stunning views.

The two towers are characterized by an architecture with shooting terraces, which
withdraw in cascades to create double heights. This game of “sowing” terraces is
designed to accentuate the landscape potential of buildings.

Terrace 9 Housing and Office Building in Nanterre


A major challenge of the project is to bring a new identity to the
neighborhood. It proposes a mastered architectural expression that clearly
stands out from the Defense office district.

The project aspires to succeed on the big scale of urban integration as well
as on the smaller scale of intimate spaces of the housing. It produces a
generous environment, accessible and comfortable for the residents.
The architectural work takes into account the essential criteria of the
dwellings, in terms of design efficiency, the varied views, sunshine exposure
and the extension of each housing by external spaces.

The architecture of the three towers offer two highly differentiated and
recognizable sequences. A rastered urban architecture for the base and
west tower, and a terraced architecture like waterfalls that strengthens the
landscaped character for the two next towers.

Terrace 9 Housing and Office Building in Nanterre

Highly exposed to the noisy boulevard and the RER, the west tower is a
monolithic, framed volume. It is clearly and graphically expressed and
supposed to deal with future projects of the development.

The architecture of the two towers, allows to see a stack of terraces in direct
relation with the gardens that surround them. The terraces of double heights
allow sizeable plantations and a great quantity of natural light to get into the

The new buildings offer an architecture that is both monumental, in
response to the scale of the site and which expresses the domestic nature of
the programs.

Terrace 9 Housing and Office Building in Nanterre Terrace 9 Housing and Office Building in Nanterre

By its design, details and the choice of the materials, the project provides
opportunities for the quality of living and the sustainability of the buildings

Even if the planned allocation for the Terrace 9 is divided into several
programs, the whole ensures a single coherent expression. Our goal was to
work accurately for functional quality and comfort of the housing program,
distributed between the three towers and the base.

Accommodations are of varied types, ranging from studios to T5, in
accession or in social housing.

One of the great qualities of the housing, is their orientation relative to the
sun, unobstructed views, landscapes and walks. Most units have a double
orientation, being arranged on the corners of buildings. No accommodation
is uniquely oriented to the north.

Terrace 9 Housing and Office Building in Nanterre Terrace 9 Housing and Office Building in Nanterre

In all the tree towers, the rectangular and square platforms follow the
organization of living spaces as successive rows around the central core of
staircases. Each floor contains an extra room for bicycles.

Each row contains a special type of space; as the servant spaces, made
of bathrooms, kitchens, which are placed around the central core; the
living spaces, made of bedrooms and living, occupy the periphery of each

The western tower is designed as a screen against the urban nuisances of
the trains and boulevard; its north façade is therefore unusable for the main
living areas of the homes. The trays are arranged in U, with the same clear
succession by functional rows, but in this building, the terraces are replaced
by loggias, less exposed to public space and therefore more intimate. The
living spaces are generously sized, and all can receive disabled guests. The
terraces form a final outer ring. All the units have an outdoor area.

The multiple constraints of project’s geometry, allow the realization of some
atypical housing: either facing planted patios, or, for some accommodations
on the second floor, overlooking a private garden. On the ground floor,
which is actually a second floor on the west side, there are some T4 housing
with very high ceilings.

The facades are exposed respectively to the four cardinal points, they are
all provided with numerous openings that extend the inside of housings to
cascades of terraces, or to small hollowed loggias, which are interposed in
the design of the frame.

There are two materials to dress the whole. The enameled briquette for the
base and the west tower, and panels in natural aluminum for towers the two
other towers.

The white lacquered steel thicknesses of the bays and loggias, define a more
intimate space, between private and public interface.

Terrace 9 is a coherent whole, regardless of the type of program developed
for each level. The facades assume clearly the two architectures: for the
base the west tower an urban expression, for the other two towers a freer,
landscaped expression.

Terrace 9 Housing and Office Building in Nanterre Terrace 9 Housing and Office Building in Nanterre

Terrace 9 Housing and Offices in Nanterre – Building Information

Program: Building program of 147 homes and business spaces
Location: 2, boulevard Jacques Germain Soufflot 92000 Nanterre, France
Maître d’ouvrage: Bouygues Immobilier / EPADESA
Architects: AZC
Partners: Bouygues Bâtiment, Cardonnel Ingénierie,TESS, Florence Mercier paysages
Status: Completed
Year: 2016
Surface: 12.200m²

Photographs © Sergio Grazia

Discover AZC projects: http://www.zundelcristea.com

Terrace 9 Housing and Office Building in Nanterre images / information from AZC

Location: Nanterre, Paris, France

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