The Île de Nantes is an island located in the city centre of Nantes, northern France. It is bisected by the Boulevard des Prairie-au-Duc and bordered on both sides by the Loire river. Creating a building with its head in the clouds and the bustle of the city at its feet is a challenge for any architect. This challenge was conquered with an ambitious design that combines quality of life and a high office level.
The design was dreamt up by architects’ bureau Brenac & Gonzalez & Associés. The architects refer to the new build, which has been named “Imbrika”, as a hybrid concept. Covering a total of 11 storeys in a single shared shell, it combines both work and living space in one building. However, the different functions are separated across different floors: the Imbrika building concept includes studios in a small, stand-alone building as well as floors for shops and offices in the first six levels of the main building. The top four floors house a total of 30 residential units. In total, the design encompasses over 3000 m² of office space and 2000 m² of living area.
UNDER ONE ROOF
Commercial or residential building? This duality is reflected in the building’s architecture, most obviously in the facade structure of the balcony projections. While the tertiary building boasts open balconies with a partial and irregular surface structure in their privacy screens, the apartment section is characterised by balcony glazing reminiscent of a curtain wall.
The architects needed a flexible solution for this that could provide protection from the wind without impairing the visual impact of the high-quality balconies in any way. They decided on the SL 23 balcony glazing. Thanks to their highly sturdy nature, the sliding elements are perfect for use on high-up floors. The non-insulated system is built to withstand stormy weather, and also offers a high degree of sound insulation. The 50 mm coverage over the glass elements when they are closed provides permanent ventilation and resistance to driving rain. Any rain that hits the system is channelled deliberately to the outer edge for drainage, which increases the service life of the wooden flaps in the facade.
A PANORAMIC VIEW PROTECTED FROM THE WIND
The sliding elements cover the full height of the balcony and are positioned behind a balustrade, which is also made of glass. Due to the high degree of transparency they offer, the balconies take on the appearance of a platform, letting plenty of sunlight into the residential units and protecting them from the wind while also offering a panoramic view of the Île de Nantes and its historic town centre. The residents can position the sliding elements however best suits their needs. The effect created by the partial openings adds to the unique aesthetic of the building.