Located to the south of Paris between Parc Montsouris and the ring road, Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris (CIUP) hosts nearly 12,000 students, researchers, artists and top athletes from around the world.
With the new Fondation de Chine, the CIUP is continuing in its great tradition of having national residences. As winner of the competition, the agency Coldefy & Associates in collaboration with Atelier FCJZ designed a building that is a synthesis of French and Chinese cultures, with its architecture reflecting the sensitivity of both cultures that only an agency with a presence in both France and China could have. While the building conceptually and formally reflects the convergence of the two nations, its facades reconcile the complexities that are inherent to the site. To the south, there is sunlight but a full view of the ring road, with all the resulting noise and pollution. To the north, there is an unobstructed view of the Parc de la Cité, yet also a lack of natural light. In a building that combines French and Chinese cultures in a contemporary interpretation free of any semblance of pastiche, the Fondation de Chine will offer its future residents three hundred residential rooms, study rooms and common areas. Its shape is the result of a bold fusion of two traditional urban design classics. On the one hand, there is the Chinese tulou, which is a circular community residence built in southern China between the 15th and 20th centuries. On the other, the dense Haussmann city blocks, which are built around an inner courtyard and whose shape tracks the surrounding streets, and to which Paris owes its unique character. The Fondation de Chine is in perfect communion with its environment and, very much like the Haussmann buildings, it is encased in a vibrant facade. The apartments throughout open onto both the interior and the exterior of the residence. With its circular and elongated shape, the heartbeat of the residence’s community life naturally emanates from its very centre, with the Fondation de Chine building built from and around it. From the central garden, which is reserved for residents, a metal Piranesi staircase stretches upwards through the centre of the corridors on the nine floors, with these hallways, hidden behind wooden screens, leading to the rooms.