To visitors and tourists, the compact French metropolis of Rennes is perhaps best known for its half-timbered medieval houses and stately neoclassical architecture, including its eponymous 19th-century cathedral. In the town’s densely populated south end, however, the Blosne district is a strikingly different milieu, dominated by high-rise apartment blocks dating to the 1960s. Thanks to a recent intervention by Paris-based firm
On the site of a historic former barracks building, a nearly 2,000-square-metre community centre meets its high-rise neighbours with a bold, vernacular-inspired form. A cluster of steep, gabled roofs draws the eye from afar, with an interplay of façades that combines solid surfaces and subtle brise-soleils across wood, concrete and aluminum panel frontages. Punctuated by punched windows and generous loggias, the five house-like forms are joined together by glazed passageways, and interspersed with narrow courtyards.
“The building was designed in close consultation with the residents who wanted the place to evoke a village,” Rennes mayor Nathalie Appéré
Managed by the municipality in partnership with a variety of non-profit agencies, the