Press Conference Room of the French Ministry of Agriculture / h2o Architectes

© Stéphane Chalmeau

With a request from the client for a contemporary and timeless design in order to match the Institution that it would represent, h2o Architectes transforms this “technical tool” into a space of representation and communication for the Minister and its politicians. As a result, the Ministry of Agriculture now has a performing tool which combines poetry and rigour in a flexible and controlled environment. More images and architects’ description after the break.

© Stéphane Chalmeau

A high number of technical equipments and utilities needed to be integrated in the suspended ceiling in order to a clear a clean, bright and sun filled space. This sensitive space is located at the ground floor of the Ministry, rue de Varenne in , in a monument listed for Historical Monuments Preservation. Two existing massive columns were supporting the four upper levels. These were problematic for the use of the space and have been suppressed to fully reveal the newly opened volume.

© Stéphane Chalmeau

A grid acts as a matrix to organize the different elements from the floor to the ceiling. At the same time, a generous undulation expands on the floating ceiling, covering the entire room. The variations are directly related to the spaces: journalists and minister access, large windows, structural beams, etc.

© Stéphane Chalmeau

The suspended ceiling It is made of a series of boxes with variable altimetry. The slits between the boxes allow for a soft light to diffuse into the space. The depth of the ceiling and the technicality of the wooden boxes allow to conceal and insert all technical constraints and scenography equipment (structural beams holding the four upper floors, ventilation, lighting and public address system, acoustic treatment).

© Stéphane Chalmeau

A random perforation of the panels allows to treat the acoustics and create a poetic design diffusing light over the entire room. The Koto wood used in the ceiling panels echoes the colors and tones as well as the patterns to be found in the flooring, hence tying the whole volume in together.

Architects: h2o Architectes
Location: Rue de Varenne, Paris,
Team: Charlotte Hubert, Jean-Jaques Hubert, Antoine Santiard
Engineering: Ingénierie Louis Choulet, HVAC; Cabinet Virtz, Economist; BMI, Structural Engineer; Scène, Scenography
Client: French Ministry of Agriculture
Program: Press Conference Room for the French Ministry of Agriculture in a 19th century building listed as a Historical Monument
Project Area: 100m²
Year: 2011

Cite: Furuto, Alison. "Press Conference Room of the French Ministry of Agriculture / h2o Architectes" 09 Jun 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 18 Sep 2014. <>

1 comment

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    Nice ceiling, but the lighting is kind of a disaster. Should’ve done some photometric renderings first.

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