Roof Window in Cooperative Housing in France

This cooperative housing project in France has a variety of spatial experiences created by combining tradition and innovation. Daylight floods the rooms through the Velux roof windows set into the green roof.

Project History

The project was thought up by a group of friends who had studied together in Bretagne, and decided to build a house together, two members of the group worked at j+e architects who were brought in to create the design. They bought three adjacent plots on the outskirts of the little town of Erdeven; instead of building three single-family houses, the group envisioned a new typology of housing that was designed for them by j+e architects.

This project started in 2013 for three couples but soon became a home for ten people including seven children born after the construction process had begun. For the young inhabitants - safe, healthy, and inspiring spaces are provided by fenced gardens, double-height greenhouses, and common spaces, as well as play areas under the roof.

The units between the greenhouses span over two floors with the upper floor being lit exclusively by Velux roof windows. The district architect who approved the buildings saw this idea as being the only solution, providing a long, straight, traditional roof form.

The office space was occupied by the architects, with a separate entrance from the road. The ground floors give generous space to the day areas and the bedrooms and bathrooms are tucked under the roof space, lit using a row of Velux windows located on both sides of the roof.

Double-height space was provided for the common area, as well as bright light from above thanks to Velux windows on both sides of the roof. An integral part of the apartment is its staircase, which adjoins the greenhouse. There are no internal load-bearing walls which means that each unit can be freely planned and different from the next.
Energy from the sun is stored using high-performance insulation and materials with high inertia. Distribution of this energy to the house was achieved by using a double-flow ventilation system. To prevent heat loss, the northern walls of the greenhouses are partially solid, while the rest, including the roof, is clad in polycarbonate. Two elements divide the garden façades, which can be folded for ventilation, thanks to the hinges on both sides. Rammed earth was used for making a heating wall in the middle apartment.