In Nantes, France, a subsidized housing building in a disadvantaged urban setting is masquerading as a creative - and colourful - architectural feat. Half of the façade is covered in a type of wooden patchwork installation which doubles as a passageway to access homes. ‘It’s a kind of large insect on high wooden legs,’ says architect Daniel Caud of TETRARC. ‘It connects public and private spaces, while evoking irresistible memories of a hut, of a voyage in the trees and freedom.' While the wooden structure covers one side of the building, the other features massive floor-to-ceiling windows for every home. These overlook greenhouses where inhabitants can harvest their own gardens. Carparks are hidden underground, which preserves the natural suroundings, including a park. Inside, the five-storey structure holds 39 housing units. Originally in this location was a housing structure from the 1960s that faced social stigmatization. TETRARC’s job was to modernize and refit the building and its green setting.

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