The parcel designated for the project is situated at the corner of rue deBuzenval and rue des Haies in Paris’ 20th arrondissement. The lot currently houses an old electrical distribution center, built by EDF in 1908 of stone blocks over metal framework.
The building’s current condition as well as its interest in terms of architectural patrimony convinced us to preserve the structural envelope. The symbiotic relationship between the existing industrial volume and the contemporary construction will allow for easy recognition of the building’s DNA as well uphold this distinct urban corner.
This contemporary extension should simultaneously stand out as new architecture, serve as counter-balance to the existing building, and subtly blend into the urban environs.
The programmatic density covers the buildings elevation on all three levels. As for this emerging evidence of program and activity, we wanted it to appear pure, simple and readable. This apparent simplicity upholds a high capacity for function and flexibility. The idea here is to propose a structure in the style of an artists’ studio, with expansive volumes easily adapted to future uses.
The manifestation is (di)visible in programmatic strata. Thus, the volumes of each floor penetrate and nest in the next, resulting in a Russian Doll configuration. The considerable height of the existing building allows this ensemble to hover in the middle.
At each level the volumes detach themselves further and the glazing becomes more tinted. This articulates our desire to perceive activities in discreet ways. Visitors, through their diverse activities, activate the Center’s facades.
The upper level facades are in general clad in glazed panels, with viewing angles offering multiple levels of perception. In order to respect customer’s privacy, public programs are fully visible at the street level and occluded behind increasingly opaque glazing as the elevation rises. This triple glazing is insulating, composed of an interstitial vacuum flanked by metallic copper netting.
The load bearing structure consists of a stacked trellis system. Three trellises, corresponding to the three levels, rest on a traditional structure disguised within the thickness of the existing building.
To achieve optimal functionality, the Center‘s entrance is located on rue de Buzenval, at the heart of the building. The street level hospitality spaces are open primarily onto the exterior. The appearance of these spaces is intentionally neutral so each visitor can create his/her own experience.
In order to reconcile the image of the modern public amenities with that of an existing industrial building, this new edifice will integrate itself harmoniously into the neighborhood. Full of local residents, the Activity Center will bask in the sunlight of serenity and warmth.
Client : MAIRIE DE PARIS
Area : 1 718 m2 SHON
Budget : 3 674 000 €HT
Schedule : competition september 2011, ranked 2nd
Consultants : CET Ingénierie