Text description provided by the architects. PCA-STREAM takes its inspiration from its research on new workspaces, which are gathered in the second issue of the Stream book-magazine, “After Office,” in order to design its premises in the Marais, on the site of a former printing house. Designed as a cluster that brings together a variety of spaces for the use of a large multidisciplinary team, this place is the spatial embodiment of PCA-STREAM as well as a manifesto of its innovative vision of the work space.
56-58 Rue Vieille-du-Temple is situated at the heart of the Marais, in the 3th arrondissement of Paris. The neighborhood, a lively shopping district, allows employees to enjoy the museums, galleries, shops, and restaurants in the vicinity. Its central position favors public transport and soft mobility. The building, which hosts shops on the street side, is accessed via a porch in a quiet residential courtyard. This is where PCA-STREAM flourishes as a firm: the studio is at the very heart of a frenetic urban environment yet is secretly nested in a green courtyard.
From a Printing House to the Architectural Firm of the Future
The cluster occupies the site of a former printing house made of a courtyard pavilion and basement workshops. PCA-STREAM redeveloped the existing pavilion and demolished part of the workshops. The low quality concrete sheds were removed in order to create a patio in the first basement. The main workspaces are organized around this empty space that acts as a skylight. The new L-shaped building is deployed above the patio. Its entrance presents a geometric glazed gable that evokes a stylized house. The pavilion hosts the research division over two floors. All in all, the cluster occupies more than 600 sqm.
A Work Place Manifesto
The design of the PCA-STREAM Cluster was strongly influenced by the research on the changes in the patterns of work and work spaces that were conducted for “After Office,” the second issue of the Stream book-magazine. Their findings were directly incubated in the organization of the cluster, including the idea that companies must provide a pleasant working environment that is also informal and inspiring in order to attract and to retain Generation Y talent; or that creativity feeds on exchange and collaboration that are fostered by the workspace. It is also in line with the trend of the return to the city center of innovative companies. This project acts out the firm’s commitment vis-à-vis the well-being of its employees both physically and spatially, but also its vision of what the work of architects really is, at a time where it must be thoroughly reinvented, open to new sources of knowledge, and adopt ways of efficiently and effectively addressing the challenges of the twenty-first century.
A Catalyst for Creativity and Collaboration
This environment offers the best working conditions for both staff and visitors. The layout promotes collective emulation all the while providing differentiated places and atmospheres that can be optimally tapped into for individual work. Glazed partitions, a patio and open layout offices: the overall organization emphasizes transparency, communication, and fluidity to foster creativity and collective intelligence. In order to respond to the needs of a broad multidisciplinary team, the cluster bring together a variety of spaces for each type of activity. Staff and visitors have access to a cafeteria to take a coffee break or to work in teams, a kitchen, a patio that can be used for work or to have lunch, meeting rooms of various sizes, a project room that is equipped with a large interactive screen for sessions of collaborative work, a model workshop—soon to be paired with a fab lab—where prototypes are constructed, a materials library, a lounge for informal meetings, a screening room, and even a shooting and recording studio. The studio can thus accommodate and organize different types of events: interviews, round tables, conferences, projections, workshops.
A Studio that is Open on Life and the City
The PCA-STREAM studio addresses new seamless lifestyles, which go hand in hand with a growing need for quality of life in the work place. The relationship to nature and the outside is favored by the openings towards the patio and the green courtyard. Everyone can work either inside or outside depending on the season and one’s inclinations. On the upper story, a renovated apartment that is directly connected to the cluster by means of a lift, offers a co-working space that is open to external collaborators. The firm can thus offer ad hoc work spaces for contributing independent practitioners. Adjacent to this space is a dining room that hosts communal meals. Once a week, a chief is invited to cook meals in situ using fresh produce. The cluster also serves as an exhibition space for the firm’s contemporary art collection. The art works provide some relief in the day-to-day use of space, in the same way that artists bring a form of otherness in PCA-STREAM’s architectural developments. The PCA-STREAM studio is an inspiring work place for teams, but also a reception place where clients and partners will enjoy to come together to work and share their views, and also for more informal settings and parties