Studio Class at Umeå University
Studio Class at Umeå University


This project was developed by LARAN Valentine as a student from École Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Versailles (ENSA-V) and was submited to the WAS awards 2017 under the Residential category.

A project form Laran Valentine and Thomas Larnicol

The site chosen is located at the beginning of the Shirakawa, about 4000m 2. Two houses, five dilapidated buildings (42 dwellings) and a parking slab covering the Shirakawa are replaced by the new project. Nevertheless, a maple as well as two noteworthy Japanese cherry trees are conserved.

The water and vegetation of the Shirakawa infiltrate the project by rojis, and also create a “village square” around the largest preserved cherry tree. Access to the river is given back to the project’s inhabitants but also to the neighborhood. A landscape amphiteater is creating in. A terrace placed on the surface of the water welcomes the play of children and actors. Finally, a sentō and two shops are located on both sides of the main street, the Shirakawa Dori.

Access to the dwellings is done in the heart of the islet, by an indirect and intimate way. Communities of 5 to 6 houses are organized around a shared patio. The latter take the form of cells, bulbs, formed of a metallic wall and a wooden core that concentrates the serving and intimate spaces of the housing. This core is available in 3 sizes (T2, T3 and T4) in accordance with the variable dimensions of the cells. The principal lighting is carried out zenithally by the oculus of the dwellings. The vegetation of each terrace protrudes from the roofs and accentuates the bulb form of the houses.

This project, set in the landscape of the Shirakawa by inviting in its breasts the diverse vegetation that grow along its banks. Thus we obtain an organic project where each dwelling has its own specificities and shapes.