White Clouds

A new social housing project in Saintes has totally reinvented what living together means. A seemingly inhabited cloud effortlessly signals the entrance to a recently rehabilitated working-class neighbourhood, known as ‘Les Boiffiers’, dating back to the 1970s. Landscape and architectural design come together in meaningful harmony, showcasing the new development.

Courtesy of POGGI & MORE architecture – Photography: Javier Callejas

The building is positioned in such a way as to respect the site’s quality, rather than merely colonise the given space. A sense of depth has been created, structured by footpaths and enticing visual perspectives, with the landscape slipping effortlessly in and around the architectural volumes, offering multiple orientations for the apartments, all of which are secluded, standing well back from the road and enjoying open vistas over the surrounding spaces.

Courtesy of POGGI & MORE architecture – Photography: Javier Callejas

The harmonious association of setting and architecture makes way for a design which, rather than closing in on itself and looking inwards, opens out to embrace the neighbourhood as a whole, while still providing protection from direct line of sight and noise thanks to its perforated cladding.

Courtesy of POGGI & MORE architecture – Photography: Javier Callejas

This building functions as a pivotal point and its strategic position means that the eye at once perceives it in its entirety. It has no main façade, and no front or back. The three volumes which compose it are compact and the amply proportioned exterior private spaces are grafted onto them in accordance with their internal spatial arrangement and specific needs, playfully disturbing the line of the building’s façades.

Courtesy of POGGI & MORE architecture – Photography: Javier Callejas

Exit conventional balconies, terraces and loggias with their separating walls and shields of varying transparency, used to hide unsightly objects or provide a modicum of intimacy. In this design, the outside spaces are extremely secluded and provide genuine additional spaces, equipped with utility rooms for drying washing or storing bulky objects, just like garden sheds. The apartments flow out into these exterior facilities, thereby offering ample extra space.

Courtesy of POGGI & MORE architecture – Photography: Javier Callejas

These ‘additional rooms’ are the design’s main distinguishing feature and endow each apartment with some of the qualities inherent to detached homes.

Courtesy of POGGI & MORE architecture – Photography: Javier Callejas

Project Info
Architects: POGGI & MORE architecture
Location: Saintes, France
Others Patricipants: SNC Lavalin + Emacoustic
Manufacturers: Tarkett
Year: 2016
Type: Residential
Photographs: Javier Callejas

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