The transformation of Paris: Josep Lluís Mateo takes part in the Île Seguin-Rives de Seine operation

Josep Lluís Mateo entered the invited competition in 2006, winning first prize for the development of the city block on the former Renault factory site. Identified as one of the outstanding economic and urban sectors in the Île-de-France region, the project is decisive to the restructuring of the west of Paris.


This central site is just a quarter of an hour from the Eiffel Tower. Josep Lluís Mateo’s project forms part of the Île Seguin-Rives de Seine development, an ambitious city planning project involving internationally renowned architects. The operation is marked by high standards of urbanistic and environmental quality.The solution proposed for block A3 of the site is a sculptural office building along rue Emile Zola. Rather than designing a variety of different office blocks on the site, the project comprises large volumes. Taking as its basis the density of the city block, the building plays with full and empty spaces, highlighting the connection of public space with the landscaped site.

The long façade on Emile Zola is characterized by a fold on the second floor that generates an empty space at street level, forms the entrance to the building and opens a passage through the city block, freeing up space. This porch constitutes a hub of distribution. From this point, flows lead to the main part of the building, the restaurant and the pedestrian entrance to the underground car park.

The building’s main façade is a pattern of empty spaces and perforations of various sizes against a solid ground, a series of windows whose forms respond to the structural logic and force diagram. The south façade follows the same layout.
The building comprises seven floors of offices, two balcony terraces with great views of the garden, and a final mezzanine floor, as well as five basement floors that function as a car park.

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This year sees the completion of building work. The site forms part of the cultural activation plan implemented by Boulogne-Billancourt Council in 2003. By 2015, the transformation of an area covering 74 hectares is foreseen, creating two main areas. The first will be a new area of over 600,000 m2, with a mix of housing, public facilities and offices of high architectural quality, a true neighbourhood forming an integrated part of Paris. The second involves the construction of “the island of culture”, on Île Seguin-Rives de Seine, 11.5 hectares in the river Seine given over to culture and art.

How to build a closed street block using various disconnected pieces was the first question we had to address.
The general composition, a score to be played by others, envisaged empty spaces between blocks, like great windows onto the empty green centre, and volumes with different responsibilities: one established the corner; another, taller and long, constituted the front that overlooks the large boulevard; others, pivoting on the corner, defined the sides.
We then have to build part of this idea. We continue with the great linear office block in keeping with our studies into the expressive capacity of concrete structural walls and the standard typological conditions of contemporary office space.

Josep Lluís Mateo, 2008

Video >> http://www.vimeo.com/9697917

Video-chat >> http://www.vimeo.com/10201831

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