Text description provided by the architects. Enclosed between a boulevard to the north, and a railway to the south, the land offers a potential for a significant visibility. It is also a place of sensitive urban reflection and representative of the issues of revaluation of the peripheries of current cities. The neighborhood mostly made up of simple houses, lacks sense and coherence. The building, with its structure and transparency, is a transition between a mineral setting in the north and a garden in the south. It is conceived as a signal in the city, the culmination of a form generating spaces and uses.
The construction consists of 3 levels. On the ground floor, an exhibition hall welcomes the visitors showcasing the studio’s many photographs, models, prototypes, and pieces of the facade. It is the crossroads of the building opening on all 3 floors; it is at the same time the link between the street and the garden. It is also a cultural space dedicated to various live musical and artistic events. A large levitated, organic steel sculpture dominates it. It represents the artery of the construction, the vertical circulation and the life in the agency.
On the second floor is the creative and administrative workspace. Largely open to the outside world, they bathe in natural light all day long and at the same time showcase the studio’s work process. A generous meeting room on the top floor dominates the building. The agency is conceived as a monolithic sculpture in which the materials take, through their implementation, a strong aesthetic value that respects the integrity of the architectural design. Concrete is present on all sides of the building. It has been cast with patented processes sometimes specific to the aum studio that allow to free it from thermal bridges. Its materiality, its texture, and its nuances are of great sensuality.
Always amazed by the strong and capricious nature of the concrete, the free drawings that appear naturally on its surfaces, the drips, the air cavities, the wrinkles, the oxidation, but also by its incomparable plasticity, Pierre Minassian plays with it to carve the building in, which the creative process of the architects will spark on a daily basis. The result is a building that stands like a canvas on which natural light draws freely like a chemical reaction that would create mystical atmospheres.
To avoid any incoherence of reading between the inside and the outside, the glazings, without a frame, are embedded in the structure. They adhere to the studio’s philosophy of "architectural truth", for which the shaping of an intention must not be altered by a process, an industrial recommendation or a standard of general implementation. This is why the joinery is in perfect coherence with the templates of the spaces and their ergonomics.
The raw steel, cut into the mass and the thickness is surgically laid to constitute the majestic sculpture hanging in the hall, the stairs or the reception desk. Attention to detail is brought to the acoustic baffles tailor-made for the agency. The furniture is meticulously chosen in collaboration with the RBC team to ensure perfect integration into the workspace. The brass desk brings a soft, colorful warmth between the rough black concrete walls.