Best Tall Office Building Award of Excellence: Tour Saint-Gobain, Courbevoie

Denis Valode
Co-Founder
Valode & Pistre Architects, Paris

Jean-Marc Pascard
Head of Project Management and Development - MRICS
Generali Real Estate, Paris

An Off-Center Core Affords Generous Space, and Natural Light

The challenges of building a high-rise in La Défense are numerous: the building must be efficient, yet flexible, energy-efficient and comfortable; and must be timeless, yet stand-out. Using a design drawing off the legacy of its anchoring company as a glass manufacturer, Tour Saint-Gobain addresses all concerns thoughtfully. The prismatic tower is made of glass, which creates an interplay between its surfaces and angles, and with the very nature of the glass itself, producing an alternating display of transparency and reflection. An almost magical dimension varies with vantage point and the time of day.

Linking the La Défense esplanade to the ring road, and the city of Courbevoie, the tower comprises three parts: the main building devoted to office space, housing services with areas open to the public in the podium, and conference rooms, communication/reception areas, and a greenhouse occupying its upper floors.

The office floors are generous and simple in design. The slightly off-center core allows different widths, from 7 meters to 12 meters. Due to its transparent façade, natural lighting is easily optimized, and 90 percent of offices are located less than seven meters from the exterior. Flexibility is maximized by the geometry and overall design of each of the office floors, granting endless possibilities for partitioning the space, or leaving it open. Green space was also prioritized, and each workspace has access to wind-protected outdoor areas and enclosed greenhouses. The energy supply for the tower is geothermal, supplemented by urban networks, and the climate control system uses a low-air transfer from ground to ceiling, ensuring occupant comfort.

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