Text description provided by the architects. At the heart of a development Scientific Park “Y-Parc”, at Yverdon-les-Bains, the new building CEI 3 offers flexible surfaces to be rented according to the needs of companies wishing to develop research activities relating with new technologies. It finalises the trilogy initiated by the ECA, the investor, in order to contribute to the technological development of Canton Vaud’s northern region. The CEI 1, offered since 1991, the possibility for young "start up" companies to use fully equipped surfaces for developing their projects. In 2008 the CEI 2 building was added, in order to ensure better services for the other sector entities.
The program of the new building includes a double height large production hall and multipurpose spaces, distinguished by a maximum flexibility in order to meet the needs of a wide rage of users. Anchored in the geometry of the existing environment, the new building has the vocation to connect the three existing buildings of the CEI complex by reorganising the exterior spaces separating pedestrian areas from those of the cars. The very bad quality ground's nature imposed a raft foundation anchored with 360 piles without basement. Thus, the building has four levels, which occupy all the constructible perimeter and are organized in an optimal way to reduce the distribution areas. Some fifty external parking spaces complete the program.
The services zone, including vertical circulations and service shafts, allows to free up the workspaces by guaranteeing a great flexibility of emplacement of the interior partitions. This intermediate layer is the only one which could be “drawn” and defined, considering that the other types of spaces are characterised by an indeterminate character (unknown users). It appears as a quality space contrasting with the external grey colours using bright colours modulated by the glazing's natural light. Visual graphics energizes the visual aspect of the interior, guaranteeing the building's internal orientation.
Broad anthracite fabrics cover a large part of the building, conferring it's changing reflections according to the variations of the natural light during the day and year. The building's skin has the will to express the diversity and the complexity of the program and at the same time to guarantee a sober and quality image in an environment, already, rather heterogeneous. These stretched textiles have, at the same time, the virtue of filtering the dazzling of the sun on the work surfaces and the computer's screens, ensuring interior privacy, while preserving optimal views to the outside. The area being subjected to a constant north wind, the fixed installation of these fabrics protects the interior of the building by avoiding the use of motorized mechanisms, expensive on maintenance and greedy in energy. While the first layer of the façade ensures the aesthetics and image of the building, the second guarantees the functional aspects (insulation, ventilation) while remaining low-cost and standardized. By balancing the proportion of glazed (triple glazing) and not glazed surfaces, it fully guarantees the swiss standards required by the “Minergie law”.
A heat pump, supplied with thermal probes introduced into the foundation piles, ensure 40% of the requirements in heating and cooling during the summer period. The roof is covered with an innovating system of double-sided photovoltaic panels, whose white gravel surface reflects the light, increasing the energy efficiency by 20%. CEI 3 has as a will to propose a new typology which ables to respond the new market requirements: great flexibility and space qualities combined with a good energy performance, at viable costs of exploitation.