Athletes Village Lot E2B Saint-Ouen-sur-Seine (France)

Construction of 98 housing units, 6 shared spaces and 7 shops Village des Athlètes Buildings E2B1, E2B2, E2B3 Saint-Ouen-sur-Seine (France)




A family resemblance


Sector E of the Athletes’ Village is first and foremost a family resemblance. As coordinator architect of the sector, CoBe has pre-written the main guidelines that govern the design of the various buildings while leaving some leeway to the individual designers.

As such, the visuals of the CoBe project produced for the competition have served from the outset as reference images to represent the entire project in the sector. In order to ensure its total coherence, the family resemblance has been extended into the skeleton of the buildings, by means of a common construction method, based on a system of post-and-beams combining wood and low-carbon concrete.

Programmed reversibility, exemplary carbon footprint, massive use of wood, universal accessibility, harmonization of colors between buildings, etc. The common construction system of the buildings becomes the glue of all these ingredients, allowing each architect to cook the recipe in his own way.

A new district

Embodying the most domestic part of the Athletes’ Village, Lot E is in line with the existing domestic districts of the city of Saint- Ouen. It draws its inspiration from the urban context to insert itself coherently into it and to enhance it. To ensure a smooth transition, it is divided into two parts: • «The Villas» which complete the domestic suburban fabric of Old Saint- Ouen, composed of low-rise buildings, dominated by the presence of wood and lime plaster. • «The Belvederes», opening onto the new central street, marking the entrance to a metropolitan area, composed of the tallest buildings of the operation, and marked by metal and terracotta dominances, that are strong historical markers and witnesses of past activities of the place.

Lot E2B : a homogeneous language

The three buildings designed by CoBe are located on the eastern edge of the Belvederes, at the crossroads of three major public spaces: the Finot street, the Ampère Square and the Coteaux Alley. This situation puts the E2B block in a central position.

The project amplifies this figurehead through a homogeneous language of the three buildings (materials, rhythm, hue). A height game has been set up to respond to varied urban situations, placing the highest volume at the intersection of the Finot street and the square and marking the entrance to the district.

A common plinth, consisting of structural piers of mass-stained fluted die-cast precast concrete and sandblasted precast concrete lintels, unites the three buildings of lot E2B.

The entrance to the home, from the public space to the intimate space, is punctuated by quality common areas, maintaining a continuous relationship with the outside: a large hall leading through to the heart of the block, a large and naturally lit corridor on the first floor.

A direct relationship is established between the dwellings and the outdoor spaces from the entrance, thanks in particular to diagonal views of the large windows of the living rooms and the long balconies.

The appearance of the facades is enriched by an interplay of the railings that oscillates between 45° and -45° from one floor out of two, creating a visual quincunx that is recognizable in the distance. Added to this is the presence of metal profiles running along all the facades and which can be transformed into pergolas on the roof. The presence of these pergolas on all buildings makes it possible to harmonize all the roofs.

Reversibility, durability

The ephemeral and transitory dimension of this large-scale project required a major design principle affecting both spaces and uses, as well as the structure of the buildings: reversibility.

Each accommodation has been designed to be able to adapt to the changing uses of this emblematic district.

Everything has been done to ensure that the transition is carried out with as little demolition as possible in the individual housing for the athletes during the «Games phase», which will be transformed into family housing following the event during the so-called «Heritage» phase.

This transformation is made possible by a post-and-beam structure that allows for freedom of space planning, as well as ephemeral elements such as prefabricated bathrooms that can be moved and replaced during the Heritage phase.

From the beginning of the project’s design, it was proposed to develop a unique specific program based on coliving. In the E2B2 building, all the typologies of these shared housing units extend from three-room to seven-room, with duplexes arranged on the top levels, and benefiting from common terraces on the roof and shared spaces with terraces on the second floor, all landscaped and vegetated.

As an exception, the E2B2 building is the only building on the block to be delivered in its final state, thus acting as a symbol of a transitional architecture since it does not require modifications between its different phases of life; its housing typologies are applicable to each of the building’s life phases, and the services offered to future inhabitants are identical to those offered to athletes (laundry, gym, office, shared spaces, etc.)


While ensuring a high fidelity to the initial design, the facades of the buildings were refined during the design. In order to harmonize the 3 buildings of the lot, an exoskeleton composed of vertical metal profiles runs over all the floors, highlighting the verticality of the buildings and providing additional support to the private balconies of building B3. On the top level, these profiles are transformed into pergolas protecting the roof terraces and supporting the photovoltaic panels placed at the top of each of the buildings.

Technical elements such as downspouts have been carefully positioned behind the various structural elements and cladding, and their colors have been rigorously selected according to the color of the buildings in order to guarantee a perfect harmony of materials.

Even though the three buildings on the block are adorned with different families of materials, they feature the same sandblasted shades so that each building is visually differentiated by its materiality: ribbed metal cladding for E2B1 ensuring the transition between lots E1 and E2, ribbed terracotta shingles for E2B2 ensuring the transition with lot E3, wood structure and stamped plaster for E2B3 in the same way as all the buildings in sector E rising to five floors (the Villas).

Innovation, sustainability

A true basic design principle put in place from the first sketches, the environmental quality of the final project is omnipresent at all scales. The entire operation has proudly displayed the “E+C- E3C2” sustainability level since the beginning of the operation, as well as “BBCA Excellent”, “NF Habitat” and “Biodivercity” labels for the E2B lot.
All of the buildings were made using low-carbon concrete and prefabricated elements such as the base walls and stairs. The entire roof is also equipped with photovoltaic panels connected to a storage battery to cover a significant part of the buildings’ electricity needs.

Concerning the E2B3 building, a mixed construction system was adopted, consisting of a low-carbon concrete base and core housing the building’s stairs, and a wooden post-and-beam frame making up all the floors. The façade of the building is made of wood-frame walls insulated with wood wool and covered with a sandblasted plaster.

Technical data


Client: Nexity, Eiffage, CDC Habitat, Groupama, EDF


Design team (Sector E):

Coordinators: CoBe (architectural coordinator), KOZ (technical coordinator), Atelier Georges (landscape architect)

Architectes: CoBe, KOZ, Lambert-Lenack, Soa, Dream, Barrault-Pressacco, Atelier Georges

Cotraitants: Setec, Socotec, Arp Astrance, Aida, RRA, Accessmétrie, Topager, Nadine Schutz, Cera, Elément Terre, Geolia, GV ingénierie


Program E2B : Games phase: 23 simple rooms and 145 double rooms Heritage Phase: 98 housing units, 6 shared spaces and 7 shops, spread over three buildings including 1 coliving building E2B1: 45 housing units from 1-room to 4-room E2B2 (coliving): 33 housing units from 2-room to 6-room and 288 sqm of shared spaces E2B3: 20 housing units from 2-room to 3-room


CoBe’s missions: Architectural coordination of Sector E Architectural design of lots E2B (E2B1, E2B2, E2B3)


Sustainability: E+C- level E3C2, BBCA niveau Excellence , NF Habitat, Biodivercity


Surface E2B: 8 880 sqm


Completion: March 2024


Photo credits: Cédric Colin

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Release and photo © Fatima Erhalac, FE Consulting Paris, France, 2024






Kulturexpress  ISSN 1862-1996


may 18, 2024