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La Serre: MVRDV’s Sustainable Mixed-Use Project in Issy-les-Moulineaux

La Serre, Issy-les-Moulineaux, FR / MVRDV

Last Friday marked the start of construction on MVRDV’s La Serre, a mixed-use development situated in the ZAC Léon Blum eco-district in Issy-les-Moulineaux. The ceremony saw the planting of the first of 390 trees, symbolizing the project’s commitment to creating a biodiverse haven that challenges traditional apartment living. The 18-storey building, designed in collaboration with landscape architect Alice Tricon and developer OGIC, will feature greenery, housing units, and shops.

La Serre, Issy-les-Moulineaux, FR / MVRDV

La Serre is not your typical housing development. It is a visionary urban oasis that breaks away from traditional norms by seamlessly blending nature into a compact urban space. The focus here is on prioritizing nature, with the building taking a backseat. In fact, it’s more than just a residential space; it’s a vibrant village square, as described by the city’s mayor, André Santini.

La Serre, Issy-les-Moulineaux, FR / MVRDV

This unique mixed-use complex, designed as a vertical village, consists of 190 units, with 30 percent dedicated to social housing. The units are cleverly stacked on top of retail spaces on the ground floor, creating a stunning three-dimensional mosaic within an open steel framework. This innovative design allows every residence, whether it’s a cozy studio or a spacious four-bedroom apartment, to have access to private balconies or terraces. Additionally, the building is enveloped in a lush green coat, thanks to shared gardens and areas, providing residents with nearly 3,000 square meters of outdoor space to enjoy.

La Serre, Issy-les-Moulineaux, FR / MVRDV

La Serre’s innovative vertical garden, crafted by landscape architect Alice Tricon, boasts an impressive array of 150 plant species, carefully chosen based on their height and exposure to sunlight and wind. With 70 percent of these plants being native species, the garden not only adds beauty to the building but also supports the local ecosystem. In addition to this, MVRDV, the architectural firm behind La Serre, has taken great care to protect urban wildlife by incorporating nesting boxes for birds and bats. The use of low-carbon materials and collaboration with ecologists further highlights their commitment to sustainability.

La Serre, Issy-les-Moulineaux, FR / MVRDV

But La Serre is more than just a green oasis. Its open façade not only enhances biodiversity but also fosters social sustainability by creating connections among residents and with the city of Issy. With a significant portion of the building dedicated to terraces and balconies, each resident enjoys an average of 15 square meters of outdoor space. These green spaces, whether communal or private, will be meticulously maintained by a dedicated gardener. The building’s design also promotes community engagement, with stairs and footbridges connecting all shared areas, from the ground floor to the rooftop garden. This collective route transforms the green façade into a vertical promenade, encouraging residents to actively use and enjoy the garden while fostering a sense of community. And let’s not forget that La Serre is also environmentally conscious, connecting to the city’s heating network using recovered wastewater.

La Serre, Issy-les-Moulineaux, FR / MVRDV

“With La Serre, we bring nature to the heart of the city. This green, vertical community is home to a veritable social and ecological ecosystem, thanks to its animated façade,” says MVRDV founding partner Winy Maas. “La Serre demonstrates how the biological and the social can be fostered simultaneously in architecture, creating a real urban habitat in Issy-les-Moulineaux. By harnessing the well-being of people and nature in this project, we hope to inspire similar innovative and sustainable hybrid typologies, both in the Paris region and around the world.”