University offices, Paris
PARIS (FR) - In the Rive Gauche neighbourhood of Paris, implementation of the Paris Diderot University in recent years has resulted in the rehabilitation of the 'Grands Moulins' and 'Halle aux farines', together with two new buildings for education and scientific research. All of these first four buildings, representing an area of approximately 80,000 m2, have been achieved, the other two buildings having been delivered in 2008. The second phase should see the construction of more than 43,000 m2, which will complete the installation the university has just opened in November, actually the smallest of the building projects.
Covering an area of 550 m2, this compact tower rising over seven floors in an imposed template, called 'bâtiment Voltaire', is home to local cultural associations and the University of Paris Diderot. Designed by Antonini + Darmon architectes, it serves as an aluminium totem located at the south-west corner of the 'Halle aux farines', a concrete structure built in 1950 and rehabilitated by Nicolas Michelin. Both in contrast to and flirting with its environment, the tower comes close to the Halle without touching it. Set with a skin of folded and perforated anodized aluminium, the new structure fits in its unbuilt corner.
Mounted on poles so as not to obstruct the exit of the older building, 'the first stage corresponds to the third floor of the Halle, gateways linking the first three levels of the tower with the premises of the Halle', state Laetitia Antonini and Tom Darmon. They continue: 'To vary the effects, we used three methods of anodizing.' Gloss, matte or semi-gloss, the different plates were placed randomly to play with light and create a draped effect. It is more or less opaque, and gradually as one approaches the double skin changes the angle of view, continuing its transformation after dark. According to the architects, 'the artificially illuminated interior spaces take over the different anodizing'. Inside, offices and meeting rooms are divided into partitioned spaces, with the largest reaching 40 m2 to 75 m2 in total per floor. Despite the lack of depth of field, the architects have managed to find the right diameter facade perforations as to not obstruct the view, avoiding transforming the tower into a prison.
Friday | 27 January | 2012 | France | Sophie Roulet