Hotel, restaurant and youth hostel
Client: Cofitem-Cofimur, Paris
1st prize Competition 2004 in cooperation with Chaix & Morel et Associés, Paris
Completion in 2008
Photos: Hervé Abbadie
The new building houses a hotel and restaurant as well as a youth hostel, replacing an 1850 grain warehouse that fell victim to a fire in 1990. Before its destruction, the 700-m long Villette basin was dominated by the twin buildings known as Magasins Généraux, identical in form and proportion. Instead of reconstructing the historical buildings in their former shape, the new structure reveals the original cubature in the form of a volume clasped by horizontal bands of anodized aluminium. In addition to their architectural role, the aluminium panels arranged in a horizontal wave pattern provide sun protection. The actual wood-clad building volume is found behind them. The narrow space defined by the high walls surrounding the yard visually extends the water surface, creating a fluctuating relationship between the interior and exterior.