Driving design forward

Wednesday 08 Jan 2014

AREP builds on city's historic legacy with redevelopment of former car factory in Paris

AREP has redeveloped the former Panhard car factory in Porte d'Ivry, Paris, applying exciting design choices to work with the city's existing heritage.

The Panhard and Levassor workshops were partially demolished in 1967 to create the Olympiades district. They are the last remnants of a thriving industrial past, after the demolition of all the automobile plants in Paris: the Renault facilities on Ile Séguin, Citroën in Javel and part of the Panhard factory at Porte d'Ivry.

Between 2007 and 2013, AREP extended and entirely refurbished the building to create 21,000 sq m of office space as well as public facilities (a nursery and the premises of a non-profit organisation running a day centre for the homeless). The firm worked with architects Jean-Marie Duthilleul and Etienne Tricaud and with Benoît Ferré and Serge Caillaud (Phase 1 and Building Work Management).

In an environment dominated by the verticality of high-rise residential blocks, the project keeps the former factory alive, sustains its horizontality and unique architectural style and relies on the ornamental features of the existing façades: materials, dominant chromatic palette and contour line.

The brick façade provides a mineral base extending the current façades while the openings are in line with the rhythm of the original building. Each, partially or entirely, new façade forms a coherent whole with the reinforced mineral angles providing the framework for a more open sequence in the centre.

Two large industrial-style statuesque boxes loom above the roof-top mouldings, clad in a double semi-transparent layer of glass and perforated coppery metal and echoing the tiles on the saw tooth roofs. These are intended as a metaphor of the former industrial features.

The adjacent cut of the Petite Ceinture (an abandoned railway line) was decked over to create a garden. Planted with ground covering plants, shrubs and trees, the garden slopes down from Rue Regnault to the new garden level, reflecting the characteristic bucolic image of the embankments of the Petite Ceinture, where vegetation takes over any available space.

The new extension houses a nursery in its north-east corner and a day centre for the homeless in its north-west corner, both situated on the garden and ground-floor levels.

The work spaces inside the building are designed to facilitate contact, interaction, formal and informal relations. This result is achieved through clearly designed spaces (atrium and vertical access flows), quality of the working environment (natural light, acoustics and ergonomics) and green spaces.

AREP currently has several other projects underway. These include the redevelopment of Dashilan, a historic district and an iconic symbol of old Beijing. It has been the centre of Beijing's retail market for centuries but also home to several theatres and restaurants.

Works began last year on this project for which AREP is providing the urban planning framework for a four-hectare site on the south-west side of Tiananmen Square and sets out design guidelines for the built environment of its different sectors.

The firm is also developing a masterplan for Thu Dau Mot, a long-established commercial hub, located 30km north of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.

It is expected that by 2020 the city's population will reach 500,000. The general development plan sets forth an ambitious planning project north of the historic city. The project integrates five major themes: centrality, public amenities, landscape and territorial identity, quality of transport services and sustainable management of water resources.

Four new urban centres have been developed in order to provide easy access to all services, commercial zones and other amenities while the key public infrastructures will be grouped together in a central park.

Saudi Arabia
In conjunction with Saudi group ABIAT and several members of the ARTELIA holding company (COTEBA, SOGREAH and DETENTE), AREP designed the master plan for the construction of a new eco-city in the Al Khobar seaside resort along the Persian Gulf.

The master plan aims to develop, over the next 30 years, 28 million sq m for a wide range of facilities and uses They will cover an extensive area of 5,200 hectares and are intended to meet the needs of 350,000 inhabitants (and ultimately up to 600,000), 50,000 tourists and create 100,000 jobs.

The aim of the project is to encourage the seaside resort to develop a wide range of activities throughout the year and not only during the holiday periods.

ARTELIA and AREP examined three contrasting urban development options before preparing the master plan:  a ‘lagoon city' option which puts an emphasis on inland water bodies and beaches, a ‘windy city' option designed to take advantage of the sea breeze for air-conditioning purposes and a ‘multi-nodal city' option organised around 4 key focal points, each with its proper urban features, and separated by buffer zones.

The final master plan of Half Moon Bay City combines the aforementioned three options and features a ‘dual city': twin cities linked together by a large leisure area on the seafront and by a road and railway bridge over the sea area.

Other projects include the Skolkovo Innovation Centre, a scientific and ecological cluster on the outskirts of Moscow, the intermodal transport hub of Torino Porta Susa, the first Italian station on the high-speed railway line between Paris and Rome as well as a gateway to Italy from Northern Europe.


Key Facts:

Commercial Offices

Want to submit your project to World Architecture News?

Contact The Team