Origami Building welcomed to the fold

06 Jan 2012

Manuelle Gautrand Architects completes origami-inspired office building in Paris

A stone’s throw from the Arc de Triomphe and Place de l'Etoile sits the latest work of Parisian architect and former WAN AWARDS winner Manuelle Gautrand. The marble-effect skin encloses the new home of Barclays Headquarters in the French capital, bathed in natural light which permeates through the double layer of glass and thin, printed panelling.

Manuelle Gautrand Architects originally intended to utilise ‘real’ marble in the construction of this daring street-facing façade, however opted for marble-patterned, screen-printed glass in order to operate full control over the aesthetics, prevent decrystallisation of overly-thinned marble slabs, and to ensure that the tones within the panels blended seamlessly with those of the neighbouring buildings. The symmetrical panels were created in an ‘open book’ format and fade in hue from a darker strip in the centre of the façade to lighter, more delicate tones on the peripheries.

This project is not a new build but a spectacular transformation of an existing structure, with a striking new extension to the rear. The additional volume has been inserted between two courtyard gardens and clad in a textured concrete façade. At the moment this concrete was poured, a crosspiece pattern was placed in the bottom of the form in order to achieve a thin and graphic texture. The façade was then coated in a holographic glaze to add a colourful aesthetic to the interior courtyard.

Located in a luxurious area of Paris, this renewed commercial building is comprised of high level offices, a welcoming lobby area, cafeteria, six meeting rooms, underground parking facilities, a courtyard garden, and a gardened rooftop. Due to the prominent, overlooked site location, Manuelle Gautrand Architects approached the rooftop design as a fifth façade and therefore ensured that all roofs were either accessible or pleasing on the eye.

The practice has also been careful to align the building’s new form with the HQE standards (High Environmental Quality), fitting all fourteen criteria outlined by the NF bâtiments tertiaires - Démarche HQE®. These include the operation of a construction site with minimal environmental nuisance, the harmonious relationship of the building with its immediate environment, acoustic comfort, and the selection of sustainable products and construction methods.

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