KCAP and Ateliers 115 win competition for an office building in France

KCAP Architects&Planners in cooperation with local partner- architects Ateliers 115 win an international competition for the renovation and extension of an office building in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France. The team was selected as winner from a group of five international participants. The original office building is a design by Swiss architect Roland Rohn in 1969-71 for Laboratories Roche. It enjoys an extraordinary position on the head of the Seine’s “Ile de la Jatte”, in a green setting facing the main entrance of a large sports area and surrounded by water on two sides.

The French branch of the Swiss based Züblin Immobilien Group will be the developer for the renovation and extension of the building following the planned departure of Laboratoires Roche in the fall of 2011. The client’s brief asked for the renovation of the 17.000 m2 existing office building and its eventual extension. The new building is required to fulfill current sustainability and efficiency standards for facades, installations and spatial flexibility.

The design concept proposes lateral extensions to each of the existing wings. This creates a volumetric play in which each of the four volumes faces a different direction. The delicately differentiated volumes are grouped around a central core and introduce a plinth into the new structure. Due to the requested flexibility for future usage the internal organisation allows for classical office layouts and open work landscapes and offers to house one or more tenants.

All interventions are done with great respect for the qualities of the building - its transparency, design of the façade and the finishing of the interiors. 'The details of the curtain walls, the woodwork of the partition walls, the natural stone at the ground floor - all these elements generate a certain charm and luxury, without lapsing into ostentation or exuberance.  We aim for maximum reuse of these elements  and will preserve the atmosphere which emanates from this fine and purely designed building of the 1970’s’, says Ute Schneider, architect and director of the KCAP’s Zurich office.

The composition of the volumes allows to reflect the green surroundings in the concept in various ways: through green patios and voids on the inside and green roofs on the outside. The transparency of the ground floor minimizes visual separation between inside and outside and elegantly integrates the outside green space into the building.  

The new facades introduce a playful composition with horizontal and vertical orientation. This play offers a new dynamic character  to the building and allows this varied mass to appear as one representative volume with one identity for the future user. ‘Our design will enhance Roland Rohn’s building and turn it into a representative and well performing contemporary office development’, says Kees Christiaanse, founder and partner of KCAP.  

The competition design was elaborated by KCAP and Ateliers 115 with advisors CapTerre (sustainability), Deerns Nederland (building physics) and the Japanese artist Nobu Nakanishi. It will be further developed and submitted for building permit in the spring of 2011. Construction will start in the fall of 2011, the delivery is estimated to be by the end of 2013.

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