The multiple dwellings in the Grand Large neighbourhood of Dunkirk required the use of products with high thermal performance and resistance, due to the maritime climate (wind, salt, humidity). Clay quickly became the natural choice for its ability to resist the harshest climatic conditions and guarantee excellent insulation. In addition, Babel wanted to be able to use a wide pallet of shades. The agency chose Argelite, a “perfect compromise between high technical performance and competitive pricing”. It was possible to work with easy to- install single-skin products, in a format suited for horizontal laying.
A pallet of colors inspired by the North Sea
Even though the project had to blend into the larger project of the Grand Large neighborhood designed by fellow architect Nicolas Michelin, Babel has succeeded in paying tribute to the houses of Amsterdam by offsetting two half-façades like two waves rolling in from the ocean. The colored touches in the cladding form a progressive arpeggio of shades reminiscent of the Opal coast, with the changing grey of the sky and the sea and the white of the waves and the clouds. There is also a reflective effect, like shimmering puddles… No doubt about it, we are in Dunkirk, near the “flat country”.
For Michel Seban, one of the partners at Babel, “a building must first and foremost adapt to its occupants, with rational choices being made to simplify and embellish people ‘s lives”. For example, there are no ground floor flats in the Dunkirk buildings, because he “would not want to live in them”. But the architect also adds an artistic touch when he says that he is trying to convey a “poetic dimension”. In the end, what he wants is for each person to be able to “tell themselves a story” as they stand and look at these buildings, and to project something of their own imagination onto them.
Project nameMultiple dwellings, Grand Large in Dunkirk, France
ArchitectBabel (Michel Seban, Elisabeth Douillet, Bernard Mauplot)
ClientNacarat / Beci
Argeton Argelite in different colors
Year of completion2015