AvoniteĀ® At The Heart Of An Elegant, Timeless Eco-District

It was in Seyssins (near Grenoble) that the A Fleur de Parc project came into being at the foot of the mountains. Designed by Parisian architect Jean-Pierre Pranlas-Descours – winner of the Medal of Honour from the Academy of Architecture – the building comprises nine unusual flats that are in perfect harmony with the extraordinary nature park. When, in 2016, it was built in the middle of this sublime valley bordering the verdant Comboire Forest and a mountain river, the new construction was fully in line with the Pré-Nouvel eco-district project where it is located.

The two series of housing units – in energy-efficient buildings – were incorporated into the slope of an old artificial hillock. Each block contains four or five fully equipped two-storey flats with sunken parking lots, and both blend into their new environment. The building’s architecture was designed in consideration of the mountain landscape that surrounds this privileged site in terms of its residential quality.

The structure is laid out in simple, clean lines and comprises a large block of natural stone from Italy (a type of stone often used at ski resorts), on which was erected a concrete frame covered entirely with Solid Surface Avonite®. “Avonite® is almost an indoor product that we are using out-of-doors... It’s as if we had placed a piece of furniture on top of a stone base. The stone wall is the scenery, and a sort of ‘cabin’ rises above it, made completely of Solid Surface. Architecture always begins that way”, comments the architect, not without irony. 

The clever combination of traditional and modern materials endows the architectural whole with a robust, warm and timeless character that fits perfectly into its environment.

All the flats have large terraces and patios that showcase Avonite®’s acrylic stone. This high-quality material was also used to create canopies, caps and planters which pair naturally and elegantly with the elements made of aluminium, the adjustable blinds and the large windows in the flats.

Those windows, the inspiration for which was drawn from Arabic mashrabiyas, pass through the Solid Surface, allowing light to enter whilst protecting the occupants’ privacy. Luminosity is in fact another advantage of these flats, whose residents enjoy three sources of natural sunlight: from the west, the south and the east.

For this architectural complex, Avonite® Plumbic was chosen as the colour best suited to the natural stone: the composition of the stone includes touches of beige and grey, and Avonite® Plumbic possesses the same colour palette. It is this very precise combination that lends the façade a real impression of harmony and even softness.

What interested me the most in Solid Surface Avonite® was the very clear and coherent relationship between the rough mountain stone with its natural lumps and bumps, and that flawlessly even material. Put together, we were able to create a minimalist building that uses no fillers and so promises great longevity”, the architect explains.

To dress up the cubic concrete structure that sits atop the garden-level storey, a large number of Avonite® sheets were digitally manufactured. In total 900 m2 of raw Solid Surface Avonite® material were used to cover the outer façade, the plant racks, the acroterions and the caps.

Architect Jean-Pierre Pranlas-Descours was pleasantly surprised by the resistance of Solid Surface Avonite®: “When we built the small roof over the terraces [see image above], it would have been logical to imagine installing a metal structure on the large canopies, followed by cladding, before putting the product in place. But the sturdiness of the Avonite® panels made that unnecessary. Solid Surface is strong enough to support heavy accumulations of snow – an aspect that obviously needs to be addressed – and at the same time makes the whole structure lighter thanks to the thinness of the sheets.

At this site in the heart of the mountains, all the materials have found their place. They cohabitate, blend together, have settled into the landscape and will continue to evolve over time. The success of this architectural complex was achieved in large part thanks to Avonite®, the many qualities of its products and their recognized aesthetic appeal.

This project was a fantastic experience, because I had long been imagining and drawing this type of housing. So it was very exciting to be able to realize it in a multitude of large spaces. The patios, the terraces, unique materials and a general cohesion all combined to impart extraordinary residential qualities on the whole”, concludes Jean-Pierre Pranlas-Descours.






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