With the majority of the world’s souls now living in urban areas, people are increasing trying to find a rural sense of community in the places we choose to inhabit. And as our sense of being alone in the crowd grows, architects are more and more trying to find a way to help us regain a connection to our neighbors. Stéphane Maupin Architectes‘s M Building has just this in mind.
The Paris based architects have given their home city a new 20 unit apartment block on rue Rebière. As the name suggest, the building is m-shaped with most windows looking inward along the central “V”, rather than outward. While the split in the building was largely due to zoning constraints, this limitation has been turned into an advantage. Not only does it allow residents to see and interact with their neighbors, it also brings year-round light into all the units and provides a number of different views to the trees outside.
Units are stacked upon one another in an irregular fashion, creating a vibrant mini-skyline. Terraces outside the units provide a space for greenery and allow residents to feel more connected; while a rooftop terrace, which is lit all day round, helps with the sense of community. The choice of materials and lighting fixtures, corrugated steel for the walls and roofs and street lights on the terraces and staircases, help to make the units feel more like little houses clinging to the side of a valley.
While this building is probably not suited to those who prefer not to see their neighbors, it is perfect for creating a sense of community in the middle of a populous city.