Ilot Queyries of MVRDV living on a human scale in Bordeaux

How to combine the virtues of European cities, so intimate, alive and rich in discoveries, with the current demand for a greater density of life and solutions to fight against climate change? dutch architecture studio MVRDV, in charge of the Bastide-Niel masterplan for the historic city of Bordeaux, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has very clear ideas on this subject, as can be seen in their Ilot Queyries project. The new development located east of the Garonne facing the historic center of Bordeaux is a set of courtyard apartments comprising 282 housing units including 128 social housing units, with parking lots, shops and a restaurant on the roof in a very intimate urban setting. with lots of light, air and public greenery.
On closer inspection, this volume nearly 200 meters long, designed in partnership with local architects from Flint, is organized around a large courtyard of 5,200 m2 which not only offers residents a park but hides their underground car park.
Interaction with the context is an essential pillar of the architecture, in line with the principles of the MVRDV masterplan for Bastide-Niel. To promote the integration of the new construction in the district, the architects built facades on the street lower than those on the central courtyard. The slope of the roofs varies from 14 to 45 degrees, depending on the angle of the sun: an architectural solution reflecting the variety typical of European cities with their complex and interesting spaces, which also have an impact on the interiors of the house, available in different types to meet different requirements.
On the northeast side, facing the river, Queyries islet rises over nine floors. The highest point of the complex is topped by a glass roof which houses a restaurant with a view of the river and the historic center of Bordeaux.
Design residential buildings with user well-being in mind has been more important than ever during the Covid-19 pandemic. In this project, the focus is on the shared green space, designed by MVRDV with the landscape architect Sabine Haristoy, while the streets are closed to cars thanks to the underground car park. Each apartment also has its own balcony or loggia, providing residents with valuable outdoor space.
The hallmark of the Dutch studio color splash is of course reflected in the project: while the walls on the street side are painted in a palette of subtle shades of cream, blending harmoniously into their surroundings, the sides on the courtyard side are coated in bright red.
In combination with the green landscape of the courtyard, planted with 83 alder and birch trees and a variety of grasses adapted to the local climate, this touch of color creates a living air that can be seen from outside the complex, with large walkways cut into the building connecting the courtyard with the outside world at many points, drawing the attention of passers-by to what the architects call a “test bench” for their masterplan for Bordeaux.

Christiane Bürklein

Project: MVRDV with Flint Architects
Landscape: MVRDV with Sabine Haristoy
Location: Bordeaux, France
Year: 2021
Images: Ossip van Duivenbode

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