AME-LOT, Paris - Stéphane Malka

Could wooden pallets house Parisian students?

Ex-grafitti artist and former Jean Nouvel assistant Stéphane Malka comes up with green solution to housing needs

Kieran Long, senior curator of contemporary architecture, design and digital at the V&A Museum in London, has commented that young designers and architects are getting better and better at repurposing materials. “We've had this fixing, repairing, ad hocism thing now for a couple of years,” he says.

French architect Stéphane Malka is part of this trend, with his suggestions for some student housing in Paris. He’s proposing a façade made up entirely of hinged pallets, which would shade the inside and bring in natural ventilation.

Malka’s aim with the AME-LOT scheme is to employ existing materials, rather than build from scratch. “In reality, ecological strategies often generate an over-production of materials, becoming energy-vores and clients of factories, the polluters of the world,” he explains. “The real ecological combat is within the re-appropriation of materials and experimentation with ready-made objects, far from the so-called benevolence of subsidised agencies.”



Malka, who operates his eponymous architecture firm out of Paris, has long had a hands-on relationship with the built environment. Before doing a stint in Jean Nouvel’s studio, he spent a decade as a graffiti artist.

Of his pallet idea, he can list myriad benefits: “No building is destroyed, and no pollution generated. The skin consists of an existing module: the wooden pallet. Held using horizontal hinges, the pallets contract towards the top, allowing privacy or large openings. The modularity of the various palettes creates varied geometries, which are based on use and constantly regenerated.”

Facades are clearly Malka’s thing, like his wooden-block-and-foliage covering for a Parisian restaurant, EP6, and a housing scheme for Casablanca with wooden sliding sunscreens in white and gold. You can see an amazing array of them at his site And you'll find more green solutions to knotty design and architectural challenges in our wonderful book Vitamin Green