Fil fiiaiiffl Watl liai 1 StbtihmffiWi SITl rTinl SmOM

,n tttp irrr nnnpnniHi, g-

(Opposite) The balcony

(Top) Elevation

(Left column, top) General site plan

Different units within Nemausus (Left column, bottom two sketches) Plans for 5-room units in the 'prow' of the ship-like building

(Centre column, top three sketches) Section and plan of a 3-room duplex unit

(Centre column, bottom three sketches) A 4-room triplex type

(Above) Cross-section showing duplex and triplex apartments, external circulation, parking area and pilotis

(Centre column, middle two sketches) Types of 2-room simplex apartments

(Opposite) The balcony

(Top) Elevation

(Left column, top) General site plan

Different units within Nemausus (Left column, bottom two sketches) Plans for 5-room units in the 'prow' of the ship-like building

(Centre column, top three sketches) Section and plan of a 3-room duplex unit

(Centre column, bottom three sketches) A 4-room triplex type

(Above) Cross-section showing duplex and triplex apartments, external circulation, parking area and pilotis

(Centre column, middle two sketches) Types of 2-room simplex apartments

(Far and below left) The balcony and building by night

(Left) Detail of staircase

(Opposite) The exterior, looking towards the prow

House with its use of metallic cladding, clip-on' appendages and rounded forms shaded by brises solei/. That precedent, meant for serial reproduction, was also doubtless the source of N6mausus's remarkable configuration: almost identical parallel twin buildings separated by a thicket of sycamore trees.

But there is an additional, contextualist dimension to Nouvel's choice of industrial materials and forms. N6mausus is built on a 'periphery' site: the buildings are located in an old industrial area close to the peripheral road around the city. The 'dirty real' landscape is populated by futuristic gas stations, rough garages, industrial plants and warehouses. The Némausus units respond in kind. With their rough concrete interiors, accordion doors, red and white bands and exclusive use of perforated and galvanized industrial aluminium staircases, the buildings are metaphorical garages or industrial warehouses. The painter François Seigneur was commissioned to work on the concrete walls of four apartments, but otherwise the inhabitants were forbidden to

(Far and below left) The balcony and building by night

(Left) Detail of staircase

(Opposite) The exterior, looking towards the prow change their intentionally unfinished appearance.

One of the key metaphors that shaped U Corbusier's Unité d'Habitation in Marseillev^as the building as sea-going vessel. The same's true of the two Némausus units: equipped as they are with a poop, decks and prow, tte buildings are also obviously intended as rep resentations of ships. However, whereas le Corbusier's prototype was the ocean line Nouvel's model seems to be a lightweignt economically conceived, jet hovercraft The

180 NÉMAUSUS

irony of the Nouvel metaphor is apparent in the sunken parking lot below the apartments: only the curves of the car roofs are visible from the outside. The intention is to make the building look like a vessel sailing across metallic waves -a metaphor one would expect from someone such as Nouvel, a long-time collaborator of the neo-futurist theoretician Paul Virilio, for whom the representation of movement is the essence of modernity.

The buildings are more than a graceful formal statement. According to a recent study.

they are popular among their inhabitants. They are machines for living in, to use Corbusier's famous expression (but less metaphorically and more pragmatically meant than by Le Corbusier).. They achieve extremely high standards of livability in a public-sector housing development by overcoming infelicitous conditions and refusing to accept conventional constraints. In this respect, Jean Nouvel is what has been described, in the words of the French critic Jacques Lucan, as a 'critical' architect.

NliMAUSUS 181

Rem Koolhaas (OMA)

Greener Homes for You

Greener Homes for You

Get All The Support And Guidance You Need To Be A Success At Living Green. This Book Is One Of The Most Valuable Resources In The World When It Comes To Great Tips on Buying, Designing and Building an Eco-friendly Home.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment