MVRDV has won a competition to design a new residential complex in Rennes, France. The buildings feature multi-level curved façades that reference rock formations — playing with geometry, color, and material. The project intends to positively contribute to the transformation of the city, with the ambition of creating a socially cohesive riverside community.
Working alongside the architects at ALL and Giboire, MVRDV was selected to design ‘Ilot De l’octroi’ by the Mayor of Rennes, Nathalie Appéré. A recent shift in population moving from the city centre has resulted in more dense suburban developments, intended to prevent encroachment into the protected countryside. In turn, this has increased the demand for more sustainable and affordable housing communities.
The 8,200 square metre complex consists of 135 dwellings — a mix of private residences and social housing. All apartments have outdoor areas with balconies facing the waterfront, loggias, and terraces. These spaces are positioned on split levels so that no view is directly opposite another. The building’s distinct curved façades slope upwards from ground level, affording views of the city centre.
The project is intentionally very open. Open to the vilaine, open to the city and open towards nature,’ explains Nathalie De Vries, co-founder of MVRDV. ‘As part of the expansion of Rennes, we designed a dense urban area that offers more public access to nature, private greens and fantastic views. Densification only works when it comes with added qualities, and that is our ambition for these inhabitants.’
The design features an inviting roof top garden for residents, where a workshop and diverse botanical garden will also be located. The exterior façade comprises three different textures, with its gradations that resemble rock formations found in more natural landscapes. MVRDV sought to create a sense of cohesion with a defined volume, rather than smaller individual units. A public square extends along the riverbank, creating an area for dining and socializing.