Text description provided by the architects. The reconstruction of Bagnolet town hall is part of a far-reaching urban regeneration project for the town centre. The project’s 5 objectives, which encompass the new development, are to:
▶develop the town hall plaza;
▶create a connection with the existing historic building;
▶close off Rue Benoit Hure (whose only use was to provide access to the Mercuriales car park);
▶design a building whose scale would be compatible with the existing buildings and would help to reorganise the space;
▶open a pedestrian zone linking the cinema and the shops in order to develop community life.
Jean-Pierre Lott’s firm was tasked with working out how to represent the new building simply and clearly while at the same time preserving the historic town hall and its location in the middle of the square. Its proposal was to install a “sculpture” made up of three protruding slabs and scaled to the size of the neo-classical existing town hall. This juxtaposition of old and new immediately creates a connection between the two buildings.
On the street side, the façade of the offices is protected by a skin of woven stainless steel mesh which shields the offices from view and from direct sunlight. The façade also features passageways to allow staff to evacuate all the offices in the event of a fire. The project includes patios and patio gardens at the side of the building (one where the street used to be), which provide a pleasant view for staff within the town hall and for the neighbouring building.
In order to achieve a harmonious effect, the building was designed with a large atrium, which is visible from each floor and which gives the town hall a sense of unity and community. On entering the building, there is a large hall to welcome the public. This is an area for people to meet and socialise and for holding exhibitions. The other areas open to the public are grouped together on the first two floors so as to limit movement within the building. Each floor is served by three lifts, situated in the hall (see photo below).
On the first floor, a footbridge links the historic town hall and the new building, thus linking the impressive wedding hall to the rest of the ensemble.
The façades feature angular balconies, clad with a mesh of stainless steel panels. Each office opens out onto this space, thereby increasing its floor space externally.
The purpose of this double skin is to:
- provide offices with an alternative emergency exit to exits leading to the atrium (as requested by the fire services);
- create distance between the offices, as working areas, and public areas;
- ensure excellent sun control for the offices, which are fully glazed.