Freeform Meets Strict Geometry: Étoile Company Building
Builder: Institut Mines-Télécom
Architect: Block Architectes
Location: 91000 Évry (FR)
The new structure, conceptualized by Block Architectes, is to be the flagship on the grounds of Telecom SudParis and the Business School belonging to the enterprise. It is devoted to research and innovation in digital technologies. Moreover, it unites both prominent and public functions.
The triangular building lot extends along a traffic artery leading northeast. From north to south are arranged first an elegant boulevard, then the striking block structure, which transforms into the lower, organic part, and finally an area for parking. All the work can be attributed to the human circulation on the grounds, which will follow a line parallel to the street.
The striking building, which juts above everything else, has four storeys and is supported on its front side by ten white columns. The longitudinal façade above is graced by a fine grid, while the remaining sides have been hung with metal slats. The base area stands clearly apart from the block construction. In the front part, under the block, it has only one storey; towards the back it becomes higher and encompasses two storeys. It consists of an outer skin made of metal mesh which takes on virtually organic shapes; it is meant to remind viewers of a rock formation. It almost looks as though the building and its surrounding landscape were coalescing.
The shared main entrance is located to the northeast, where the massive columns of the block meet the lighter ground floor. Two stairways, to the left and right of the entryway respectively, connect the two parts of the new construction. The base and the linear four-storey part above it differ not only visually, but also programmatically. In the lower area, there is room for public, representative spaces as well as two sheltered inner courtyards. Beside the central lobby, there is also a showroom, conference centre and workshops. The block is devoted to more private pursuits. It accommodates the laboratories and offices.