This is a new feature of At Waters Edge. I hope to send it out each Friday. The first three articles tie in neatly with my newsletters on solving the housing crisis.
The breathtaking design for this residential building in the 12th arrondissement of Paris, tucked in the courtyard of a 1970s apartment block, evolved from pure necessity. “We had to fit all construction elements through an opening only 2.3 metres wide,” says Raphaël Renard of French firm Mars Architectes. “Working with timber was simply the logical solution.” Fortunately so, as its masterful employment elevates this project into a class of its own. Imbued with the natural warmth of the European Douglas fir, each of its 14 apartments boasts a balcony, ceiling-height windows and fine wooden flooring. Residents also have access to an inner courtyard that helps to provide a sense of community.
Laudably, the architects devoted just as much care to the surroundings, creating a haven of more than 30 regional plant species in what had previously been a barren concrete enclosure. This regard for detail and wellbeing that is frequently lacking in new builds sent Parisians clamouring. On completion last October, rental contracts were snapped up from developer Gecina within a few days. “The feedback from the residents says that they are delighted, so we are happy too,” says Renard. Indeed, 14 Accommodations shows that, in expert hands, architecture is only enhanced by being in a tight spot. mars-architectes.com
If you click on the hyperlink, the article is a four minute read. – Excerpt:
“On a half-vacant block a few miles outside of downtown Detroit sits an unabashed oddity. Nearly 200 feet long and 23 feet high, it’s a gleaming half-cylinder of metal surrounded by trees. Built out of a military-style Quonset hut and plopped into the dwindling remnants of a residential neighborhood, this alienlike arched steel structure may be the world’s most unexpected new apartment building..”
This article explores three lessons from previous post-pandemic eras – Excerpt:
“The situation is so unfamiliar that economists are turning to history to get a sense of what to expect. The record suggests that, following periods of massive non-financial disruption such as wars and pandemics, GDP does tend to bounce back. But it offers three further lessons. First, while people are keen to get out and spend, uncertainty lingers for some time. Second, the pandemic encourages people and businesses to try new ways of doing things, upending the structure of the economy. Third, as the example of “Les Misérables” shows, political upheaval often follows, with unpredictable economic consequences.”
“The pandemic has reminded key workers that without them society would grind to a halt. In its early phase homebound folk in Britain stood outside their front doors once a week and applauded the “heroes”. Yet as Camilla De Camargo and Lilith Whiley, two sociologists, argue in a paper, giving essential workers “an almost mythologised status and value” obscures the human suffering that many have endured.”
Quotation of the week:
“Never wrestle with a pig. You just get dirty and the pig enjoys it” George Bernard Shaw
Before I fall completely into the trap of opposition politics, I have decided to take a break from never-ending criticism and to start suggesting solutions to the affordable housing conundrum. Do I have a plan? No, more a collection of ideas To start with, I think there are three key issues: Home ownership is not […]
I know! I am going to sound like a grumpy old man. Maybe that is because I am. I have been scratching my head in wonderment at the Taylor Swift phenomena. Is she an Incredible song writer, composer, and performer? I really don’t know! A discussion for another time? But probably not. At my age […]
Don’t build it! At least, Not In My Back Yard ! I acted as an advisor in the sale of a beautifully natural, 14-acre urban waterfront estate. Existing zoning allowed for the development of 30 to 35 single-family homes, which after road dedication would leave very little green space. I did not think that was […]
We were visiting Glasgow (literally that Dear Green Place in Gaelic) to see where my father was born, grew up, and went to University. Fortunately for me, my cousin John from Australia had just visited and had met with historians, Bruce Downie and Norry Wilson. So, we too arranged to meet them in the Govanhill […]
Vienna on top again. This week both Monocle Magazine and The Economist unveiled their quality of life / most liveable city indexes. There are differences in the way each publication sets its index. So it is even more impressive that once again, Vienna tops both lists. I am a bit lazy today so rather than […]
Many Viennese went from hot bedding to superblocks overnight. Could they even imagine an apartment complex 1000 metres long built along two streets with even more massive landscaped courtyards? Could they conceive of 1400 apartment units built to house 5000 people on 56,000 square metres or 38 acres of land. Or a vertical build-out that […]