Bold office design creates striking landmark for Saint-Etienne's centre
The site of this building is near the main train station in Saint-Etienne, an area undergoing significant redevelopment. The changes will bring high-density land use to this vital liaison point between the centre of Saint-Etienne and the new Chateaucreux neighbourhood, to which the building forms a major entranceway.
The building constitutes a pole which groups the several government bodies which will be set up there: the Regional Development Authority, Tax Services and Saint-Etienne Métropole. Service and leisure facilities will also be part of the mix, with a shared corporate restaurant, café and parking. The total area is 25,000 m².
The idea is to develop a long, built 'continuum' on the site to interact with adjacent streets; a linear construction that rears up and unfolds but also hugs the ground line to form a low accessible building, one that opens spacious courts and lifts bold overhangs.
The project is like a large 'Aztec serpent' rising on the lot. Its body has three identical outer faces, and a contrasting underside with its skin of silvery transparent scales and a bright yellow 'throat', shiny and opaque.
This dual treatment of surfaces obeys a simple logic shared throughout, which aims at expressing clarity in folds. Depending on these movements, the yellow underside is either a floating canopy or an interior vertical wall, accompanying internal pedestrian movements with its rich, luminous presence.
The nearness of so much gorgeous yellow brightens up pavements and glazed elevations, casting golden washes over them like sunlight. This is a project that is about bringing together yellow and grey, silver and gold.