In Paris, the former headquarters of Peugeot invented a future (almost) without cars

It’s not easy to stay avant-garde… Built between 1963 and 1973, a stone’s throw from the Arc de Triomphe, the building designed by the Sainsaulieu brothers with a height of 110 meters is the symbol of the Avenue de la Grande -Army. Due to its age and its role as the headquarters of the Peugeot group, it is an ode to the car between its triple-height showroom to compliment the brand’s products and its central entrance to a large underground parking lot. in the car. Gecina, owner of the place since 2015, two years before the final departure of Peugeot, so orchestrated the complete renovation of 33,500 m² of this building.

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Launched in early 2019, work is now in its final stretch before tenants make their own arrangements. The premises are already 87% let, it is known that the consulting firm Boston Consulting Group will occupy 23,500 m² alone. The international firm Baumschlager Eberle Architekten is responsible for creating the revitalization of the music venue. An approach that is respectful of what is already there, both to salute the original architecture and for the ecology, which consists of maximizing the original options while adapting the areas to current uses.

Reduction of parking spaces

The choices that lead especially to the continuation of the existing facade with its unique form (110 meters high in a Haussmann environment). To give it more comfort and light, the spandrels (the wall at the bottom of the windows) were removed and one of the two windows was placed in boxes of 4 different depths. A method that revives the facade, mixing concrete and steel, while respecting its original geometry. Only the top floor escapes this alternation with a floor-to-ceiling glazed level to take advantage of the spectacular view of the major axis, which links the Grande Arche de La Défense to the Louvre pyramid.

As for the grand entrance that allows cars to enter and exit through the middle of the building through a wide spiral to the underground parking lots, it has disappeared. The access is now closed and glazed and the inner courtyard where the vehicles pass has been turned into a garden. Underground parking lots are maintained, but the space allocated to the car is alone dissolved. It is now accessed more intelligently from the back of the building complex, located rue Pergolèse, and a good part of the space is allocated to storage, bicycles and technical equipment that appeared on the roof before. Result: nearly 350 places available against more than 600 in the past. Finally, unlike many changes today, here there is no “clean” surface creation. On the other hand, the profit is made by optimizing the spaces, by acquiring a covered interior yard that does not forget the 1,000 m² of accessible interior gardens and 1,800 m² of terraces that help to promote biodiversity .

Photovoltaic farm

Another place where the cars are now gone, is the “great gallery”, which serves as a showroom and where the emblematic models of the lion brand are presented on the ground floor and in the mezzanines. Completely separated from these intermediate levels, the area has a unique triple height under the ceiling where one circulates in the common areas of the ground floor. With stunning concrete porticos treated to mimic metal, you almost feel like you’re under the nave of an industrial cathedral.

Finally, as with many current sites, maximum has been done for ecology and re-use of materials. Therefore, the granite slabs taken under the windows of the facade were simply polished before becoming ground flooring. On one of the roofs, we can see what presents itself as the largest “photovoltaic farm” in Paris and, finally, the heating uses geothermal energy. On the other hand, Gecina is wiser about the cost of work than talking about it. We only know that the rent is very comfortably set by the family of “prime” office rents.

SEE ALSO – Peugeot-Sochaux: the story of the decline of the French industry

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