e4 multi-family house in France

Le Candide 29 logements performance Bas Carbonne «Le Candide » cité Balzac, Vitry-sur-Seine (94)

Taking roots in green-conscious residential construction

“Le Candide” is a multi-storey social housing project providing 29 flats. What may, at first sight, appear to be quite ordinary, is in fact an alternative to living and dwelling in the city. The twin block, which is located in a rather neglected neighbourhood, provides a workshop on the ground floor, a vegetable garden on the rooftop as well as greenhouses, a wind wheel for irrigation and a shared playground including a terrace for children. It is an environment with numerous common areas the residents of the house share, where they have a chat and help each other. So the house provides everything what living is all about and it is firmly rooted in the e4 brick-house concept by Wienerberger: energy efficiency, renewable energy sources, affordability as well as a unique quality of living.

Brick on the inside and outside

When viewed from the outside, the most striking elements are the balconies with woven willow balustrades, which are undulated around the façade in a different way on every level. Here, LEDs shine like fireflies at night and are recharged during the day. The walls are constructed as cavity brick walls to ensure an increased heat and sound insulation as well as an improved indoor climate for the well-being of all residents.

Example through innovation

Besides tried and tested traditional materials such as brick, new technologies were also applied (e.g. waste water heat pumps). However, the true innovations are not only of a technical nature because natural ventilation, for example, also reduces charges residents have to pay. For the residents, the project means to gain a foothold in a previously neglected neighbourhood. The “Candide” allows them to live in bright, well-ventilated, energy-efficiently managed public housing and enjoy the luxury of growing their own fruit and vegetables. The project is an excellent example of how suburbs can be upgraded through attractive, environmentally conscious housing construction.

Good idea

The starting point of this project was an architectural competition in 2010, followed by winning a prize in an ideas competition for low CO2 emissions. That presented the opportunity to review the energy-saving facilities and propose systems to achieve CO2 emissions below 5 kg/m2a. The building society decided to implement these alterations and simultaneously combine architecture and building services with a social commitment. Finally, after an analysis of the Balzac District and its social structure, this alternative residential concept emerged.

Key Data

Usable floor area: 2,316 m²
Primary energy consumption: 18.93 kWh/m²a
Thermal heat consumption: 8,54 kWh/m²a
CO2 emissions: 2,1 kCO2/m²a
Construction costs: 2,131 €/m²
Masonry: Cavity wall
Exterior walls:
Porotherm thermal insulating brick GFR20Th+
Façade: Terca facing brick Rhônes
Building services & heating technology            
Photovoltaic system
Ground water heat pump
Waste water heat recovery
Hybrid natural ventilation system

Project information

“Le Candide” multi-storey residential building in Vitry-sur-Seine, France
Architect: Bruno Rollet Architecte, Paris
General contractor: Demathieu & Bard
Planning – building systems: EPDC Engineers, Helin Elec

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