The past and the future, old and new, the challenges architecture faces in the major upheavals affecting metropolises all over the world. All these things require teams capable of dialoguing in multiple styles at various scales. Founded by architect Philippe Chiambaretta, PCA – STREAM tackles these upheavals in a
twin-pronged way: PCA, an architecture and urban planning agency, and STREAM, a department dedicated to research comprising 150 researchers from all over the world. For centuries an avant-garde city, Paris has been for many years a construction site where new architectural trends are first tried out.
Laborde, requiring the transformation of the former royal barracks in Place Saint-Augustin into the headquarters for Gide, France’s leading law firm, was a major opportunity for PCA to try its hand at a “metabolic” redesign, reinterpreting and renovating an existing, prestigious area of the city. Reconstruction required a number of separate jobs that focused on the structure’s horizontality in contrast to today’s prevailing contemporary vertical architecture. The building’s historic wing along the street, a model of 18th-Century elegance, was completely restored and adapted to its new purpose: welcoming clients. Inside, the building offers some 20
high-technological meeting halls and smaller rooms adorned with digital works of art. On one side of the inner courtyard is a modern office building with large windows framed by steel T-profiles typical of Parisian glass façades. “NoPa”, a modern monumental pavilion with a double-height atrium that serves as a connection between old and new, stands between the two structures, flanked by a green garden for moments of socialization or for holding events.
The Laborde project was the result of meticulous analysis based on four pillars. The first objective was to create a sense of community. For this reason, horizontal flow circulation systems were preferred, with elevators grouped into a single area, and kitchens and convivial spaces distributed on each floor. In addition, a restaurant, a bar and the central “NoPa” hub help to expand the variety of opportunities to meet, work informally and collaborate.
Significant attention was paid to physical well-being by installing large French windows that ensure each office enjoys natural lighting. The stairs that connect the rooms are positioned hard by the façades, to encourage chance encounters and exercise. The garden and broad balconies allow people to enjoy fresh air on sunny days, while in order to encourage activity even in bad weather, the structure is equipped with a gym that is open 24 hours a day.
The materials used to build the architectural complex - Charmot or blue Buxy limestone, marble and antiqued brass for the metal elements - highlight French craftsmanship. Elegant curtains and custom-made decorative objects were chosen to embellish the interior.
STREAM dedicated five years of work, publications and conferences on the fourth pillar of the project: links between the city and nature. Design of the green spaces is not merely a decorative aspect, it requires planning as specific as for the
man-made structures. Biodiversity in the garden, green roofs and terraces are essential to wellbeing and comfort. Little wonder that the roof is also a vegetable garden for aromatic plants, while the courtyard offers a place to grab lunch, meet and talk.
Location: Paris, France
Client: SCI ACM Saint-Augustin
Completion Date: 2018
Gross Floor Area: 18,879 m2
Architect: PCA – STREAM | Philippe Chiambaretta Architecte
Project Manager: Joachim Ganuchaud
Main Contractor: Eiffage
Contracting Authority: ACM
Assistant to the Contracting Authority: ARC
Contract Supervisor: Artelia
Façades: VS-A, Goyer - Environment: Green Affair
Plumbing and HVAC: Barbanel
Technical Inspection: Qualiconsult
Cost Estimator: Delporte
Health and Safety: LM3C
Fire Safety: CSD Faces - Landscaping: Topager, La Superstructure, Les Jardins de l’Orangerie
External Lighting: Lumiere Studio
Office Design: Archimage
All images courtesy of PCA – STREAM | Philippe Chiambaretta Architecte
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