"Light and colour, stimuli for housing units for artists Cheval Noir" In conversation with Olivier Bastin.
Openness and visual presence determined the architectural choices of this building. It accomodates 31 housing units/ studios for artists. As part of a study, an architecture student from the University of Montreal (Quebec-Canada), asked Olivier Bastin about the choices that determined the architecture of the building. The configuration of the units arises from their integration in the former Hallemans brewery on the one hand and the compactedness of a small tower on the other hand.
What is the origin of the housing form?
Two main concerns: the penetration of natural light and sound insulation between homes.
For light, duplex work brings natural light deeper into the studios most days. For acoustics, each studio-housing is almost a "box in the box".
How did you go about getting to the shape of the new building?
The basic reasoning at the time of the competition: the request was for about thirty studio-housing. We made the choice to fit a number correctly in the existing building, that is to say by giving them the necessary spatiality and not squeezing them like sardines (which others would have done). To achieve the desired number of the program, we proposed a tower whose height would be conditioned by the number of apartment remaining to be built.
The folded shape came from the concern to bring light in the courtyard, from the SOUTH. The inclined plane plays like a "mirror" effect downwards.
Why did you choose not to align the windows of the new building, why are they all disordered?
A first version proposed a "system" of more aligned perforations. Some joineries were even inclined in the plans of the facades, which was not very practical to open and close the windows.
A new approach aimed more at creating relationships between the interiors of studio-housing and outdoor spaces (the urban environment, the courtyard, the street, the neighbors, ...) induced to configure each bay in the most specific way and adequate to target a point of view, allow a small balcony, a hang down, or an aspiration to the sky.
This is not a principle of disordering, but rather successive attentions, adapted case by case, according to the internal volumetrics and spatial relations sought.
Why did you use yellow all over the building?
Yellow is the background color needed to illuminate the background of a painting or color drawing.
The main cut in the existing building faces south. The external footbridges diffuse this luminosity inside the courtyard. The yellow is not everywhere, but as a series of accents to diffuse a certain brightness throughout the project.