Marne la Vallée - Les
chênes d'Emerainville - 210 dwellings
The new town of Marne-la-Vallée
entrusted us with a project for 110private apartments
on a wooded site near the railroad station of Emerainville.
There were to be 80 apartments with communal facilities
and 30 separate houses, everything designed in cooperation
with the future residents, in an industrialized
system. The minister of housing had encouraged us
to test the possibilities of industrialization.
After analyzing the available
decided that we would use a particular product
for the apartments, partly because its representatives
were sincere and friendly, and their factory was
situated in Reims on the route to the site. Although
this system presented itself as "industrially
manufactured," it was as inflexible and invariable
the others. It had a too large (60 cm) and un adaptable
framework, and only a few varieties
of windows that were of dull materials, and always
had to be installed in the same location. Therefore,
we decided on wood paneling for the upper areas,
to ensure variety.
This was a much used procedure
in the past, but rare today. Working with the engineers
of the system, we utilized every possibility for
variation: on the street, in small plazas, in groups,
semidetached, detached, with flat or diversily shaped
roofs, with every possible facing available, to
achieve an inimitable place (repetition is a crime).
The 80 apartments were completed. ln spite of much
effort to achieve variety and expedite "aging"
by planting and a charming disorder, the complex
still has the slightly vulgar character of the very
new, particularly because of the streets which were
too severe, too straight, and too conspicuous. One
ought to visit it in a few years, when it has benefited
from the unusal domestic virtues of the inhabitants,
which impel them to improve, add to, utilize, and
plant their surroundings.