Building upwards in Paris: a solution showcased by several projects

The hyper-urbanisation of the world cities requires new solutions for housing construction. The building permit figures in Paris show a growing interest in building upwards.
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  • Metsä Wood

Building upwards is a simple and effective solution for visually enhancing and extending a solid construction. Because it is lightweight and quick to construct, Kerto® LVL – laminated veneer lumber – is an ideal material for designing and building wooden extensions in urban environments.

Vertical extensions to solve urban sprawl

Between 1990 and 2011, over 1,200 vertical extension projects were authorised in the city of Paris, while over 31,000 building permits were filed, and over 65,000 requests for authorisations were recorded. These figures attest to the growing interest in building upwards in cities.

“It is now imperative to decisively, and on a massive scale, enter a new era in the design and construction of our housing”, says Emmanuelle Cosse, French minister for housing and sustainable habitat. “Building upwards is clearly one solution to urban sprawl.”

In France, the abolition of the urban density rule, introduced in 2013, and the implementation of the access to housing and urban renovation law in 2014 are giving fresh impetus to the practice of building upwards in cities through wooden extensions. It offers an appealing alternative for the city of Paris, which remains densely built-up and is seeking to increase its housing stock by promoting urban greening and renovation.

Prefabrication is key for urban extensions

Vertical extensions are a logical solution for meeting urban housing needs. Because the wooden structures are prefabricated, extending upwards becomes faster and more economical.

Involved in a heightening and passive building renovation project in Poissy, architect Laurent Pillaud views the construction of wooden extensions as an undeniable asset for producing and transforming building stock in urban areas.

“The advantage of this urban heightening is prefabrication”, he declares. “Each extension consists of three or four standard modules and a roof; they are fully factory-built and easy installation runs within the day of delivery.”

City of Paris honoured in “City Above the City” competition

The city of Paris also inspired remarkable and ambitious projects in Metsä Wood’s architectural competition that took place last year. The Pods, a project designed by Fabrice David and Marion Brière, has created an extension above western Paris.

The Pods

The architecture of this district, built over 50 years ago, now has a somewhat unattractive image. Californian artist Shepard Fairey had already created the impressive mural “Rise Above Rebel” in this area, the perfect place to revitalise buildings by building upwards with wooden extensions.

“Modelled on this work of art, we proposed upgrading the building by constructing wooden housing on a surface area 82 metres long by 16.5 metres wide. We wanted to push the boundaries with a design we were passionate about,” says David.

Read more about vertical extensions in Paris.


For more information, please contact:
Henni Rousu, Marketing Manager, Metsä Wood, tel. +358 40 5548388,

Metsä Wood provides competitive and environmentally friendly wood products for construction, industrial customers and distributor partners. We manufacture products from northern wood, a sustainable raw material of premium quality. Our sales in 2016 were EUR 0.5 billion, and we employ about 1,500 people. Metsä Wood is part of Metsä Group.