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Amétis PACA (the developer), IDEOM (the investor), Agence Faragou (the architectural landscaping firm), B.E. (the research and development office) and Ateliers Jean Nouvel have won the competition organised by the Local Planning and Development Authority for the Plaine du Var Region of the south of France. The remit is to construct a complex consisting of a block of 84 residential apartments, a block of 41 social housing apartments, and a leisure centre within the new Nice Méridia ZAC (zone d’aménagement concerté), earmarked for local government initiated development. The marketing campaign for the private apartments is scheduled to launch in the first quarter of 2016.
The Nice Méridia project, centred in the Plaine du Var, represents a new dynamic for the area to the west of Nice. It is predicated on new forms of mobility (eco-friendly public transport) and the quest for a new kind of sociability, as a structure offering coherent, mixed-use public spaces that guarantee quality and sustainability. Our project will occupy the entire length of the avenue du Docteur Robini, conceived as a landscaped link between the slopes and the Var. It will bring out what has till now been hidden away out of sight – the geographical particularities of the terrain. Parks, squares, and rows and groves of trees will form the thoroughfare’s architecture, enlivened by vital coolness and shade. Different activities will break up and give rhythm to this ambitiously broad landscaped axis. Our project takes its inspiration from this distinctive feature. It first defines a large open space, a green urban room directly linked to the Docteur Robini causeway. This space will resonate with the public space, ensuring a nobly consistent scale across the whole stretch, where the relationships between the built masses, and the proportions between solids and voids, mean the residential blocks can be ideally positioned.
Living in Nice Méridia
The fact that the project opens on to a shared garden that is an extension of the public space creates a positive and strongly distinctive micro-climate. The apartments will be part and parcel of the new landscape. Choosing an apartment should be an affair of the heart, the beginning of a story we go on to tell ourselves. It needs the element of surprise, charm, some special hook. The apartments will be modern: spacious, but mindful of the costs of maintenance and heating. They will respect the requirements of sustainable development in their choice of materials, water treatment processes, the installation of solar panels and use of sunlight. Modern… and unique, with long interior perspectives, open-plan kitchen and living spaces, framed views of the landscape, and big balconies designed as added rooms. Each apartment will stand out, stirring you to decide you want to live right here and nowhere else.
Two apartment buildings, a new way of living together
The program comprises two apartment blocks: a block of social care apartments, and a block of residential apartments. The social care apartments will sit perpendicularly to the avenue du Docteur Robini in an east-west orientation designed to enhance ventilation and the framing of the apartments’ views. The residential block will sit at the corner of the avenue du Docteur Robini and the rue du Canal d’Amenée. The highest point in the surrounding quartier, it will take advantage of the views out over the wider landscape. The social housing block, situated in the middle of the cluster, will fully take advantage of the new garden. This urban layout will allow for contemplation of landscaped continuities, a friendly dialogue between neighbouring buildings, an urban lifestyle rich in meaning and possibility.
The entrance to the apartment complex will be common to both buildings. Access to the social housing block will be via the shared garden, a convivial space that will lead to an entirely glazed internal lobby. Two vertical wells (lift and staircase) will efficiently serve two apartments per floor. The residential apartments will be served by a system of external passageways. These passageways will allow residents to take above-ground walks along a vertical garden offering multiple views over the Var Valley, promoting neighbourly relations while preserving individual privacy. The passageways will distribute the apartments through a series of ‘private docks’ that will act as filters across the vertical garden, with entrances set back from the communal walkway behind individual gates. The underground car park will be lit with natural light through stone walls that play on the theme of the dark valleys and landscapes native to the Nice area. These muted connections will be part of the district’s urbanity and a new way of living together. Designed from the inside out, the apartments will celebrate the perspectives by providing vivid views over the recreated landscape – here, space is the luxury. By highlighting the site’s green assets, optimizing the performance of the materials that constitute the residences’ envelope, and implementing high-performance renewable energy systems, these residences will enshrine an environmental ethics that gives the new district a new image of excellence.