Located close to Paris, the city of Malakoff possesses a typical suburban fabric. Separated by the south beltway of the capital, this city, historically proletarian slowly evolved to a high-end neighbourhood for privileged white collars, willing to escape from the capital ambient stress. This close location allows them to stay in close contact with the city centre especially since it is well served by many metropolitan trains.
The site gets its character through several remarkable points. The subway station Etienne-Dolet, borders the West side of the building, creating a green frontage stretching through the whole depth of the site, Its built front, that develops on 180 metres, is covered with a low-grade cladding that projects a poor image for the current site. The construction is set in a large parcel of land with various neighbouring landowners that generate divers building alignments. One of the sides of the building borders a large greenway that stretches around the city.
Returning to the roots of the Modern Architecture, the architects point out the starting point in their design: "In architecture, just as it is in mathematics, Less x Less = More. Numerous negative constraints are added up in this project, and the sum of it turned out to be quite rewarding. it gave a high creative potential to the project. "
The building is engraved in the geometry of the parcel and opens up next to the embankment. As it was impossible to have an open view on the primary frontage, this led to the use some translucent panels and to set the circulations in the outer side of the building. These circulations became the essential expression of the project, and formed a solution that addressed numerous issues from urban regulations to acoustic problems.
The neutrality of colour and material helped the project to integrate within its complex environment. It never looks the same, depending where the viewer is located and the intensity of the light, as its colour changes. The Building becomes a dynamic object putting forward its modern technological aspect. The simple volume becomes enigmatic with its curious vibrations of the front.
This approach was repeated throughout different elements of the building. For example, the metallic fence of the private parking is decomposed just like a bar code, decomposing natural day light during the day, and artificial light at night.
The execution details focused on producing a smooth appearance for the building. To remove any drop shadow and obtaining a homogeneous luminous plans.
The integration of vertical electroluminescent diodes reinforces the concept of light manipulation and transforms the building at night.
The treatment of the subway station unifies the whole of the site. A reflective stainless steel cladding prolongs the vegetable slope by a spectacular reflection with the scale of the greenway. The wall doesn’t stop the landscape, but becomes the landscape.