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Social housing, a French exceptionalism?

During the 80th social housing (‘HLM’) conference held in Paris last September, housing organisations spoke with one voice: the French system, which has almost no equivalent within Europe, must be protected.

In its Octobre 2019 issue, L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui has therefore chosen to present exemplary projects, which sometimes renew the typologies of the genre and all of which underline that, in the field of social housing, French know-how is not left out.

Behind each progress in the realm of social housing, in addition to talented architects, there is the determination of a client, which in turn benefits from guidelines provided by the State. Finally, it is perhaps less the type of program than the actors involved that counts, as highlighted by the survey introducing the issue’s report. Thus, if architect Sophie Delhay innovates in the social field, she succeeds as well, or so it seems, in working in the same direction with private clients.

It remains the case that the former, owing to their public mission, seem to be those encouraging innovation, as attested by the projects of one of the main Parisian actors in the field, the Siemp, and illustrated as well by the projects we have chosen to explore in the following pages. Whether the flats by Armand Nouvet for this same Siemp, those by Charles-Henri Tachon for Paris Habitat, the work by Atelier Provisoire led by Aquitanis in Bordeaux or the experimentations of Christophe Hutin in Bègles when the city was being run by Noël Mamère, all these developments demonstrate that innovation begins with architectural quality, a challenge traditionally taken up in France by social housing landlords.


AA n°433 — Social housing, a French exceptionalism? — is available on our online shop.

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