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Additi Office Building, Rennes, France, Kraft Architectes, Photo: Judith Bormand

Creative Garage: Additi Office Building by Kraft Architectes in Rennes

In times of dwindling advertising and subscription sales, change is the only constant in the daily newspaper branch. The Ouest-France publishing group, with 1,500 employees and over 50 local editions one of France’s largest publishing houses, thus merged its advertising and multimedia departments into a new firm by the name of Additi. It then set out to find an appropriate office building for the subsidiary’s 400 employees. The executives concerned found one literally on the doorstep of the headquarters’ site in Rennes, Brittany. An approx. 160x30 m industrial garage, where once the vehicles for distribution of the newspapers were parked and repaired, had long stood empty, presenting the opportunity to create a building with precisely the workshop character appropriate to the young firm.
Kraft Architectes, also of Rennes, won the ensuing competition with a design that preserves the character of the old building despite retaining practically nothing apart from the former garage’s structural frame. Newly inserted mezzanines with a reinforced concrete structure independent of the hall’s skeleton frame provide additional usable floor space. Dormer-like rooftop extensions containing meeting rooms are also new. The steel roof trusses rest on steel posts set outside the façades. Narrow balconies faced in grating are inserted behind the posts, while at the upper storey level the spaces between the posts are mainly filled with shade-providing, perforated corrugated sheet metal. In contrast the glass façade at ground level permits practically unrestricted views into the interior, where white is the predominant colour, as on the façade. The hall retains its spaciousness with a sequence of open-plan workspaces divided into different zones by cubes containing smaller meeting and group working rooms.

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