Eye-catching undulating facade wraps Passive House high-rise
High-profile Chinese firm MAD Architects has completed its first project in Europe with the Unic in Paris, France. Defined by an unusual rippling facade, the 13-story apartment building is also impressively energy efficient and has been constructed to meet the exacting Passive House green building standard.
Unic – which, according to MAD is also the first major building designed in Europe by any Chinese architect – is located next to a park in a new mixed-use neighborhood that will eventually provide housing for 7,500 residents in central Paris. It rises to a height of 50 m (164 ft) and its overall form means that each of its 13 floors is slightly different. The idea behind this design is to create unique terrace areas for all residents to enjoy access to fresh air and natural light, plus excellent views of the city.
"Designed in dialogue with the park and the surrounding neighborhood, the envelope of Unic is defined by a series of non-repeating, undulating terraces that offer its residents multiple dynamic views of the city of lights; several units on the southern side, in fact, are even able to take in a view of the Eiffel Tower sited more than 4 km [over 2.5 miles] away," explained MAD. "A number of individually selected trees, in addition, have been placed in planters along some of the terraces to frame views of the city from within the living spaces.
"The variability of floor plates was made possible through the use of a simple double core structure mixed with the flexibility of a bare concrete facade. The nature and vibrant street life surrounding the neighborhood is invited indoors through the floor to ceiling windows lining the envelope, as well as the glass railing along the terraces."
Much of the 6,600 sq m (roughly 71,000 sq ft) of available floorspace is taken up by the apartments themselves, which are a mixture of affordable and luxury residences (we've no photos available of the apartment interiors, though the promotional video below offers a glimpse). The building is also situated atop a podium that offers direct access to the local metro station, as well as another nearby housing development, a kindergarten, retail spaces, and a restaurant.
As the project has attained the Passive House (or Passivhaus) green building standard, it boasts outstanding insulation, "high performance" glazing (which reduces solar heat gain) and a very high level of air-tightness. Additionally, the facade helps shade the glazing too. Combined, all of this enables it to maintain a relatively steady temperature with very little heating or cooling required – we've no hard figures available, but to put it into perspective, the Passive House-rated Goldsmith Street social housing in England, for example, offered energy bills that were reduced by approximately 70% per year compared to a typical home.
The video below has more.