A new beacon for Paris

Nick Myall
Wednesday 06 Apr 2016

Dominique Perrault completes the renovation and extension of the “Pont de Sèvres” Towers creating a luminous landmark for Western Paris: Citylights

At the end of an international competition launched by General Electric Capital Real Estate in 2007, Dominique Perrault was appointed winner of the project for the renovation and extension of the “Pont de Sèvres” Towers in Paris. After the conclusion of a partnership, then a sale to BNP Paribas Real Estate, in 2013, the project was inaugurated on March 30th, 2016. GE and its subsidiaries will rent 50% of the building.

The “Pont de Sèvres” Towers, a witness of architectural modernity, were designed in 1975 by architects Badani & Roux-Dorlut. Dominique Perrault, while respecting the architectural patrimony, proposes a restructuration of the building and new solutions allowing new sustainable development performances.

“The project we conducted is a renovation, re-structuring and an unveiling of the towers’ self-evident resources”, says the architect.

Located in the heart of the Grand Paris, Citylights takes part in the city’s transformation process. The project highlights the redevelopment of a competitive service and cultural sectors along the Western Parisian area, including among others Jean Nouvel’s master plan for the Ile Seguin, a new music hall complex by Shigeru Ban and a new major transportation hub.

By creating a new plaza, a range of new outdoor spaces (passageways, large public garden), and a new building base or “campus”, Dominique Perrault opens and links the building to the city and its urban networks.

The 900,000 sq ft building consists of three towers of different heights, composed of three “petals” each. Dominique Perrault proposes a complete restructuration and an extension – one additional petal; only the concrete petal-shaped structure has been preserved.

The architect wraps the building with a new polished glass and aluminum flat facade, intertwined with a lit folded facade as “bracelets” around the towers. Those bracelets are at different angles in response to the different heights of the towers. In total, 3,400 new facade elements have been installed.

Inside, the three towers and the extension have a central core that allows 360° views of the metropolis: 95% of the offices have direct natural light.

The office building offers its users a vast range of new services. The central hall serves five corporate restaurants, a conference centre with a 300-seat auditorium, a visitors lobby, a conciergerie service area, a gym and a corporate day-nursery.

The central hall, or Agora, designed by the Studio's art director Gaëlle Lauriot-Prevost, reflects the architect’s stance: it does not separate the outside from the inside, as façades flow seamlessly into the buildings. The space is a sheltered outdoor space, in the continuity of the towers’ environment. The floors, the stair risers and the suspended metallic mesh come in different shades of grey. The wide polished stainless steel porch of the Agora acts like a kaleidoscope, reflecting natural light throughout the towers.

“The architect and urban planner Dominique Perrault brought magic back into the towers by giving them utterly distinctive façades and a new distribution around the base, which means its occupiers have a building that is open to its environment while preserving its privacy.”, concludes Thierry Laroue-Pont, Chief Executive Officer of BNP Paribas Real Estate.

Nick Myall

News Editor

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