Text description provided by the architects. Architects Matthieu Gelin & David Lafon designed both an office building and pavilion on this site in Paris, France. The office building required two different programs; housing both RATP office space on the ground level and circus office space on the second floor, each function was defined by use of materials.
The pavilion is a white folded shape that emerges from the ground at the entrance of the subway station Porte des Lilas. This monolithic shelter provides a dynamic shape and strong signal for travelers. Exceptional by its great dimension, its sharpness and folding is both artistic and functional, appropriately providing enough space for two buses.
After the break is further description about each project and photographs.
The circus’ building, which overhangs the square, is a very compelling volume, with only one accessible facade. To reduce its impact and to mark it out, its volume is split and cut. The shape creates two slender volumes, each linked to a different function. One volume receives the administration and the public, and the other, the workshop and the reserves. The splitting of the facade helps to minimize the presence of the pavilion and give depth to the building, while the decomposition of spaces allows a hierarchical organization and proper functioning of the whole.
A golden lacquered perforated steel sheet wraps the circus pavilion. This double skin works like a moucharabieh. The mesh, permeable to light, protects the various elements of the program such as toilets, reserves and the workshop. This materiality corresponds to the idea of a circus; by night the interior light becomes a lantern that participates in the entertainment.
The shelter is a pure construction. Its expression is linked to the elements of structure that compose it and which are necessary to its stability. The canopy holds its strength and continuity through materials. The folding that comes out from the ground forms both a wall and coverage. Pilars stroll freely like pedestrians in a group. The cover and the pilars are then read as two autonomous entities improving the perception of overhangs.
It is a major element of the square of du maquis du Vercors, as its lateral position gives a limit to this forecourt, and its orientation gives more strength to the north-south axis of the project. The urban component the pavilion provides helps in establishing the global functioning of this public place: bus terminus, subway entrance, shelters for free service cycles, meeting area for the cinema and the circus.
Its grip on the ground, very lightweight, enables a continuity, that transitions through its total use of materials including the paving stones. The shelter appears more as a sail delicately put in the limits of the square rather than an immovable building. The whole shelter was constructed with one material, steel painted white.