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A delightfully surprising addition to the centuries-old urban fabric of Paris is this wooden apartment building built by French studio Mars Architectes, inspired by the architecture and materiality of traditional Japanese temples. 

Clad in European Douglas fir, the four-storey building, built for French real estate firm Gecina, is located along Avenue de Saint Mandé in Paris’s 12th district. It houses 14 flats, with exterior façades fitted with sliding wooden shutters and an outdoor terrace — a luxury in Parisian apartment standards. An all-white interior courtyard is shared by the building tenants, accessed via footbridges. The minimalist themes of the build’s exteriors continue indoors, with each apartment featuring plain white walls, space-saving pocket doors, and dark wood floors .

The building sits along on a plot of land enclosed by residential apartment blocks from the 1970s. Combined with an underground parking lot below it, these factors posed considerable constraints on the building’s logistics and construction. Working with prefabricated wooden modules, each element prefabricated with strict measurements and assembled in situ, proved to be the most efficient solution — and a sustainable, eco-friendly one at that. 

This unique, innovative addition to the Parisian landscape has earned a nomination for the prestigious 2022 Mies van der Rohe award. Visit Mars Architectes’ website and Instagram for more. 

Moving away from Paris, discover a photography project documenting the small villages, industrial areas and abandoned spots around France.

Mars Architecte Wooden Apartment Building Paris
Mars Architecte Wooden Apartment Building Paris
Mars Architecte Wooden Apartment Building Paris
Mars Architecte Wooden Apartment Building Paris
Mars Architecte Wooden Apartment Building Paris
Mars Architecte Wooden Apartment Building Paris

Photography © Charly Broyez for Mars Architectes

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