- Team: Jean Pierre Miécaze, Pascal Cribier, Jean-Marie David, VP & Green, CALQ, APTEC MO, Mazet & Associes, THOR, Setec, AVA, Ciguë, Ductal® LafargeHolcim, Betsinor, C&E Ingénierie
- Client: Edf, So lo
- City: Palaiseau
- Country: France
Text description provided by the architects. The EDF learning center is located at the Saclay plateau in southern Paris. It is intended to welcome some of the 160,000 employees of the electricity generating utility for a stay of one to ve days as part of their continuing in house on the job learning. This retreat on the Saclay plateau, sometimes far from an employee’s usual place of work, is an opportunity for staff to learn and train, but also to meet, exchange and re-energize themselves in order to consolidate a common culture.
On top of the spaces reserved for learning courses there are reception areas, social life gathering spaces, relaxing lounges and even bedrooms: a variety of programs that together contribute to the exceptional chronotopy of an atypical 24 hours per day operation. The idea of an American style campus is reinterpreted here vertically in this unitary building that is bringing people together in multi-functional spaces which is highly ambitious in terms of getting people to mix with others with dense, proven corollary.
The EDF campus has just been set up on the Saclay plateau in Palaiseau, in the same neighborhood as the prestigious École polytechnique. The prize winning ECDM proposition is marked out from others by the way it is programme is distubitued vertically rather than by its plan horizontally. The program interweaves in superimposed layers to develop in a compact volume that absorbs the density of the programming without extending over the surrounding landscape. The space is graded from the bottom to the top to go from the public to the intimate in a parallelepipedal volume dug out of a central patio. Only the exhibition hall which stands at the entrance of the forecourt and the training hall at the rear are separate from this.
The facades of the building reveal the program which is divided into three layers distinguished by their covering (concrete + stainless steel, glass, concrete) but also by the rhythm of their piercing which forms a motif of identity, the real thread of the project. The formation stages of the elongated windows are extremely fine frame and are combined with brown Ductal® concrete. The same high- performance fiber of reinforced concrete surrounds the some 270 rooms that span the top two levels. Following a rigorous thread of 1.35 meters, the facades incline according to the typology of the program. In this way another of the strong ideas in the project, its pattern, is revealed.
Between these two layers of concrete, a pleated glass panel marks a transition from public to private to the intermediate level which houses the restaurant and relaxation areas. At the foot of the building, two other materials, stainless steel and glass, are grafted to these three strata to envelop the technical hall at the back, the showroom at the front and the entrance to the building.These two excrescences invite visitors to enter the public spaces of the central volume, while reflecting their environment in a kaleidoscope of shapes, landscapes and bodies, whose kinetic iridescence is a nod and wink to the neighbor EDF’s research and development center whose circular walls are glazed.