The Doge, a 5,100 square meter office building, intended to welcome young startups, is situated in the joint development zone of Rives de la Haute Deûle in Lille, in the heart of EuraTechnologies. The architectural competition in 2011 imposed a strict limitation, requiring the use of terracotta, historic materials from the immediate surroundings and the region. The structure designed by Atelier Tarabusi, and handed over in 2017, proposes an unexpected, inventive and pertinent architectural approach. Just across from the old Le Blan-Lafont factory, the environment is characterized by the presence of large industrial buildings, which are either rehabilitated or undergoing transformation; and by the small scale strips of workers housing. More recently, urban planning linked to the Haute Deûle joint development zone has introduced a rich array of intermediate-size structures to the area. With a few exceptions, only one material, terracotta, available in various forms, unifies and connects the different volumes, programs and periods, within this urban diversity. Eager to offer something other than a brick-clad concrete building, Paolo Tarabusi’s unique design choice was to make use of a line of building elements from “monolithic” terracotta, sorts of one story high, giant hollow bricks, typically used for farm buildings and individual houses.
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