On Friday, the first out of a total of 390 trees was planted during a ceremony that signalled the beginning of construction on MVRDV’s La Serre, a mixed-use development located in the heart of the ZAC Léon Blum eco-district in Issy-les-Moulineaux.
This 18-storey rack filled with greenery, housing units and shops is a result of collaboration between MVRDV, landscape architect Alice Tricon and developer OGIC, aiming to create a biodiverse haven challenging traditional apartment living.
Envisioned as an urban oasis, La Serre’s bold architectural and landscaping approach defies traditional housing norms to fully integrate nature into a compact urban space.
“The project prioritises nature, placing it at the forefront while the building recedes into the background. This urban oasis is not just a residential space; it’s a genuine village square”, says the city’s mayor, André Santini.
The mixed-use complex, designed as a landscaped vertical village, comprises 190 units, 30 percent of which is allocated to social housing. Stacked on top of retail spaces on the ground floor, the units stretch in all directions, creating a three-dimensional mosaic within an open steel rack.
This allows all residences, ranging from studios to four-bedroom apartments, to open up to private balconies or terraces. Along with shared gardens and areas, they envelop the building in a lush green coat, amounting to nearly 3,000 square metres of outdoor space.
The vertical garden designed by landscape architect Alice Tricon contains 150 different plant species, 70 percent of them native, carefully selected considering their height on the building and exposure to sun and wind.
Equal importance was given to protecting the urban fauna; MVRDV has incorporated low-carbon materials and collaborated with ecologists to include nesting boxes for local species of birds and bats. Emphasising its sustainable practices in resource management, La Serre connects to the city’s heating network using recovered wastewater.
La Serre’s vibrant open façade not only enhances the biodiversity of Issy but also creates connections among residents and with the city, fostering social sustainability. Over 25 percent of the building’s inhabited area is dedicated to terraces and balconies, providing an average of 15 square metres of outdoor space per resident.
Greenery, whether located in the communal areas or on private balconies, will be tended to by a dedicated gardener to ensure good maintenance. Stairs and footbridges connect all shared spaces, from the main hall on the ground floor to the urban window at the heart of the structure and the communal rooftop garden offering residents panoramic views of the city.
This collective route promotes active use of the garden, transforming La Serre’s green façade into a vertical promenade and creating a sense of community among residents. “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”. Source by MVRDV.
- Location: Issy-Les-Moulineaux, France
- Architect: MVRDV
- Founding Partner in charge: Winy Maas
- Partner: Bertrand Schippan
- Director MVRDV Paris: Nicolas Land
- Design Team: Catherine Drieux, Antoine Muller, Ana Malgalejo Lopez, Kamile Malinauskaite, Charlotte Kientz, Francesco Barone, Quentin Aubry, Pauline Dupont, Aurelien Goepp, Gabrielle Evain, Manon Vajou, Andrea Battistoni, Josselin Jung, Javier Cuenca, Chiara Cappelluti, Marie Ducroc, Gaelle Khalil, Nicole Nahra
- Contractor: Leon Grosse, Metaloviana Landscape architect: Atelier Alice Tricon Structural engineer: Geciba MEP: Elithis Cost calcultation: DAL Facade engineer: Elioth Environmental advisor: Auddice (Biodivercity label) + Benefficience
- Client: OGIC, Issy-Les-Moulineaux, France; Ville d’Issy-Les-Moulineaux
- Size and Programme: 12 700 m2 – housing, retail, gardens
- Year: 2026
- Images: Engram, Courtesy of MVRDV