Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
A CONCRETE WAVE BY THE ARCHITECT JEAN-PHILIPPE PARGADE
February 12th, 2015 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: THE ARCHITECT JEAN-PHILIPPE PARGADE
On a site covering nearly seven hectares in the Cité Descartes cluster in Marne-la-Vallée lies the Pôle Scientifique et Technique Paris-Est (PST) which has been baptised the Espace Bienvenüe in memory of Fulgance Bienvenüe, inspector general of the Ponts et Chaussées engineering school and father of the Parisian metro system. The space completes the Cité Descartes that has been incorporated into this new town and meets the needs of the programme imposed by the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable development and Energy. Its aim is to group together the Ministry’s training and research facilities on the Marne-la-Vallée site and create a centre of excellence focussed on the sustainable city.
The Paris-Est scientific and technical pole, which brings together the various disciplines of higher education, training, research and engineering, is a major innovative project intended to encourage the emergence of a new way to design, build, develop and manage cities As a marker of the State’s commitment to the implementation of the decisions taken during the Grenelle environment forum, the Bienvenüe building stands next to the Ecole des Ponts Paris Tech, ENSG and the Coriolis building, all three of which highly involved in research and experimentation. Bienvenüe has a surface area of nearly 40,000 m², of which 25,000 m² of offices and 10,000 m² of laboratories (chemical, optical and materials), as well as a test slab (50 x 10 m), a conference centre (auditorium seating 250 people and meeting rooms), and a restaurant seating 1,700.
Launched in 2008, the international competition had a three-fold ambition: to create an approach to urban landscaping, design a functional architecture able to adapt over time, and express an ambitious High Environmental Quality approach backed by the French HQE building certification system.
Four agencies were considered, including that of the architect Jean-Philippe Pargade. The latter was designated as the winner alongside the SNC Lavalin engineering firm. The client is the property and housing action delegation of the concerned ministry.
The pole contributes to the major geographic balances of the capital region. Located 20 minutes from Paris (15 km), it aims at becoming a defining element in the development of the eastern Paris region. At the heart of the Cité Descartes cluster, the Bienvenüe building is a place of specific synergies between several research institutions:
On a larger scale, thanks to the Greater Paris initiative (a new global plan for the Paris metropolitan region), the project will develop a major research pole focused on green technologies at the national and international level. It is slated to become one of the world’s largest centres that addresses the issue of the urban city.
THE CAMPUS: AN URBAN EVENT
The architectural concept is based on the ambition of creating an exceptional urban event: the Cité Descartes campus. It showcases a vast public area in the centre of a block unique to the new town, which reinforces urban structures and interlinks existing facilities.
In an extension of the green setting of the university campus, the creation of a long, undulating concrete structure covered with a landscaped garden contrasts with the flatness of the site. This 200-metre long green slab makes up the large central park, which is magnified at the level of the campus and the city. The architecture is in perfect harmony with the environment, which offers a panoramic view from the green roof terrace.
The contrast between the density of the buildings that abut the block to the north and the fresh air of this vast garden enhances the urban landscape. The wooden huts by the Japanese artist Tadashi Kawamata dotted here and there reinforce this feeling.
A LIVING AREA
The new Bienvenüe building is flexible, multi-functional and scalable. Its architecture fosters exchanges between the disciplines and the organisation of teamwork. This is achieved with the large multi-purpose area on the ground floor, under the arch. It brings together all the shared functions: library, auditorium, restaurant, sports rooms and a technical area made up of a monumental test hall, laboratories and meeting rooms. The layout of the main reception lobby in the axis that crosses the lobby of the Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées reinforces the complementarity between teaching and research.
The office area located in a unit along the Boulevard Newton reconciles the independence and autonomy of each speciality.
The shared functions are in glassed areas that are bathed in natural light. They give a feeling of great transparency and perspective and overlook the large park, while the office division is made airy with the patios that contribute the warm atmosphere of the place and the well-being of users.
CONTAINER AND CONTENT BROUGHT TOGETHER AROUND AN EXEMPLARY ENVIRONMENTAL PROJECT
The architectural approach integrates all the innovations that promote sustainable development. It highlights the relationship between the environment, energy management, servicing and maintenance, hygrothermic and visual comfort.
Special emphasis has been placed on the low-energy target, and the building now has the BBC label. Thisobjective will be achieved through an overall bioclimatic design: orientation and insulation of the building (south façade largely open towards the campus and retrieving solar energy/north façade more closed and thus offering an insulating wall with a strong thermal inertia), natural ventilation, rainwater collection, insulating materials. The main source of energy for heating and cooling the building is geothermal energy obtained from the groundwater body.
JEAN-PHILIPPE PARGADE ARCHITECTES
Jean-Philippe Pargade is an architect who graduated from the UP6 school of architecture in Paris (1972) and an urban planner from the Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées (1973). He is also state architect board and member of the French Architecture Academy. He created his agency in Paris in 1980 and since then has been involved in the building of major public projects: research centres, teaching centres, hospitals, housing units and service buildings. Some of his many projects include the Paris-Est scientific and technical pole in Marne-la-Vallée (2014), the Sarthe-et-Loir health centre in Bailleul (2008), the French Embassy in Warsaw (2004), the biology centre in the Croix-Rousse hospital in Lyon (2004), housing units in Paris Seine Rive-Gauche (2000) and the biology research centre for the CNRS in Toulouse (1999). Finally, on December 18th, 2014, our team associated with the architecture office Art & Build was been awarded prizewinner for the new Nantes hospital competition, a unique large-scale project in France dedicated to health. The team, which now has Caroline Rigaldiès as architect associated shares an ambitious vision to built: to provide a lifestyle that is part of a new social project. For this, she defends a customized urbanism and architecture, which poetize places and anticipate future lifestyles and work through sustainable and humanistic approach.