Separation and unity
Lot 19 Residential Block, La Défense–Nanterre
In a 1977 lecture titled “How to live together”, Roland Barthes asked: how distant from others must we keep ourselves to develop a sociability with them, whilst maintaining our individual freedom? Two years later, Pierre Bourdieu produced a stratified map of social space and argued that social capital is not uniformly available and depends on an individual’s social status.
These concepts informed our design for the 11,500 square-metre residential block in La Defense-Nanterre, Paris. The intention was to remove any stratification between the households based on social status, whilst providing each with privacy.
Since the inhabitants have occupied Lot 19 for several years, we wanted to learn from their experience by asking them to share their feelings about living together. It appears that the architecture has connected the residents: through it, they feel a bond to one another