The mixed-use Saint-Urbain development of eight buildings creates a new ‘urban island’ in the French city
In the French city of Strasbourg, LAN (Local Architecture Network) has completed the Saint-Urbain block, a mixed-use development of eight buildings in various bright colours, comprising housing (including both social and intermediate rent), office space, a hotel and shops.
Located between the historic city centre and the neighbourhood of Neudorf – a former industrial suburb turned densely populated urban district – the Saint-Urbain block connects the two areas while visually appearing like a colourful ‘urban island’. Across eight buildings set around a central garden, the development includes 178 homes, 2,756 sq m of offices, a 123-room hotel, and eight food shops and restaurants.
The eight volumes of the Saint‐Urbain project are different shapes and heights while sharing a common grid-based architectural language that allows the block to be read as a coherent whole, while also creating parity for inhabitants whatever their tenure.
This architectural unity is nonetheless animated by a variety of saturated colours, which relate to local built heritage: the olive yellow is a pastel found in the historic centre, particularly the Petite France district; the brown refers to the buildings on the nearby Place de la Bourse and the Strasbourg Cathedral; the pink is taken from the neighbouring facades of the Neudorf district.
Large windows provide the housing units with ample natural light, while in-built loggias become semi-exterior spaces connecting residents to the outside and surrounding views. On the ground floor of each block, double-height spaces are designed to be porous and welcome public activity.
Paris-based LAN was founded by Benoit Jallon and Umberto Napolitano in 2002; the practice’s projects span a wide range of disciplines and functions including research laboratories, housing, civic and cultural buildings, and wider urban design.
Photography by Charly Broyez
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