area 103 | Paris

architect: Beckmann-N'Thépé Agency

location: Paris

year: 2007

This project is not an isolated architectural mission, it contributes to the urban ambitions of the Masséna district in the 13th arrondissement of Paris. Each new construction is an additional milestone in the extension of this ”3rd age” town. Based on the principles designed by Christian de Portzamparc, the project emerges, develops, takes shape to enhance its simplicity with its own specific elegance. The facade overlooking the street extends in strict alignment like a cheesewire. The overhangs, the recesses, the compositions of terraces and a crevasse structure the expression of the blocks forming this architectural complex, allowing the neighbouring buildings to benefit from the ”open island hub” of the development plan. At the crossroads of the various traffic axes, this minimal structure imposes its inertia through its deep and sombre bulk. Self-compacting coloured concrete adds a finishing touch to the corners, enhances the beauty of the canvas formed by the windows, the majesty of the design and its pure lines. The large glazed facades of the ground floor confer an impression of immateriality, the structure remains absent from this composition and a large hollow joint which accommodates the solar protection of the future occupants bestows a certain sense of levitation on the various volumes. The facades unfold like a large graphic composition, generous and scaleless. The notion of floor levels is concealed, the rhythms of the openings are systematic and surprising. The inside is echoed by precise, nearby or far-off frames, profiting from the panoramas offered by eastern Paris. As delicate as a butterfly wing, a metal tape running between the various volumes creates a special atmosphere catching the light, the reflections. The building is reflected and reflects a tone, a luminous spectrum. Time is on stage. Ornamentation is banned and the omnipresent nature springs unexpectedly from the roofs of the various volumes, with an abundance of plants and trees. Passers-by dream when looking up towards these accessible terraces which form this new ’green’ Paris, close to the river Seine and large cultural and educational infrastructures. Rejecting the limitations of style and representation archetypes, this building suggests a critical architecture, whose modernity is essential for a new regulated urbanity in an open, generous, ecological and social metropolis.

architetti: Beckmann-N’Thépé Agency (Paris)
proprietario: Semidep (Paris) ZAC (mixed development zone) planner: Semapa (Paris)
ZAC architetto coordinatore: Atelier Christian de Portzamparc (Paris)
area: 4.850 sqm net floor area (including 630 sqm commercial area)
costo: 5.7 million euro
completamento: July 2007
prime contractorship team: Project manager: Nicolas Gaudard
architetti: Stéphane Maîtrejean, Mathilde Malher
assistenti architetti: Amélie Authier, Caroline Huybrechts, Tiphaine Leclère, Aimé-Issa N’Thépé
consulente paesaggista: Ecovégétal (Broué – 28)
coordinatore sicurezza: ANM Consultants (St Germain en Laye – 78)
impresa: HERVE SA
cemento: Holcim
foto: Stéphan Lucas

Aldric Beckmann (1970) graduated from the Paris-La-Seine School of Architecture in 1995. Françoise N’Thépé (1973) graduated from the Paris-La-Seine School of Architecture in 1999. Conjurers of space, colors and ideas, Aldric Beckmann and Françoise N’Thépé became partners in 2002. Architects, graphic artists, designers, scenic artists, they clearly reflect the multi-disciplinary nature of their training and practice. Principal references: Renault exhibition space for the Leipzig international motor show (Germany), 2002. Daycare center for “Enfant Présent”, Paris, 2002. Plai et Plus housing design competition, Saint Denis (near Paris), in conjunction with theEllipse group and the Philippe Gazeau agency – under construction, 2001. Competition for the Versailles School of Architecture, renovation of the Maréchalerie and the Forge – under construction, 2001.