Airs and Graces?

Airs and Graces?

Résidence Allures

Our (architectural) tabloid journalist Jan traces the airs and graces of the Résidence Allures in Montpellier.

The French word “allure” primarily means “gait”, “look” or “appearance”. In the German version of this term, however, there is a negative connotation in the sense of an unusual “gait” or behavior that in a way kicks over the traces, for example, in the form of vain extravagance as it is often attributed to celebrities and then called the “allures of a star” (German “Starallüren"). One might translate this kind of “allures” into English as "airs and graces". Now, this is not meant to become a deeper excursion into the French language or its German derivates. I’m just wondering how the “Résidence Allures” in Montpellier got to its name. MDR Architectes will hardly have had the negative connotations of the German version in mind, but could it be that there has been a bit of a thought of extravagance in the naming?

Not without my Loggia!

At least the architects’ intention to harmonize the two apartment buildings with the surrounding traditional development and the more modern existing buildings from the 1970s speaks against this assumption. Both the six and the four-storied building show a simple, classic rectangular floor plan. Although, well, this is not entirely true, for, actually, the dynamically bent and folded frames of loggias cantilever from a rectangular core, leaving none of the 34 apartments without its own outdoor area.

“Loggia Façade” and “Pine Roof”

As a matter of fact, this, well, “loggia façade”, I’m inclined to say, gives the apartment houses an extraordinary outward appearance and, considering the generosity of some loggias, some even running around the corner, one might even speak of a certain extravagance in comparison to the neighboring houses. And then there are still the roofs that equally bend in unusual ways. Those consist of concrete adorned with a brown pigment and textures supposed to create an analogy to the majestic pines growing on the plot.

“Nature Reserve” and “non-mono” Orientation

The pine analogy also refers to another point the residents of the Résidence Allures can be happy about, and being happy is what extravagance is all about after all, isn’t it? Curiously, the plot is situated right in the heart of a protected forest area! Also not so usual for a six-story apartment building: not only does every apartment have its own loggia (or balcony on the upper floors), the apartments are also never mono-oriented. So one or the other protected tree should be visible from every apartment.

What else?

Not necessarily extraordinary but nevertheless worth mentioning is the fact that the Résidence Allures is also no fallow in terms of landscape architecture. Between the trees and houses, the architects made an effort to provide the architecture with a, let’s call it “organic”, basis using bamboo, mulching, Gramineae and Mediterranean plants. And that is still much better than concrete or gravel or similarly boring stuff and, thus, again actually a bit extravagant (in a positive sense).

Project details


MDR Architectes


Completion: 2014


Area: 2.683 m²


charles134's picture
charles134 4. June 2016 - 4:25

It should be durably and analogously added to the leather, and the metal should be ablaze and gleaming.