Car factory in Paris
AREP builds on city's historic legacy with redevelopment of former car factory in Paris. AREP has redeveloped the former Panhard car factory in Porte d'Ivry, Paris, applying exciting design choices to work with the city's existing heritage.
The Panhard and Levassor workshops were partially demolished in 1967 to create the Olympiades district. They are the last remnants of a thriving industrial past, after the demolition of all the automobile plants in Paris: the Renault facilities on Ile Séguin, Citroën in Javel and part of the Panhard factory at Porte d'Ivry.
Between 2007 and 2013, AREP extended and entirely refurbished the building to create 21,000 sq m of office space as well as public facilities (a nursery and the premises of a non-profit organisation running a day centre for the homeless). The firm worked with architects Jean-Marie Duthilleul and Etienne Tricaud and with Benoît Ferré and Serge Caillaud (Phase 1 and Building Work Management).
In an environment dominated by the verticality of high-rise residential blocks, the project keeps the former factory alive, sustains its horizontality and unique architectural style and relies on the ornamental features of the existing façades: materials, dominant chromatic palette and contour line.
The brick façade provides a mineral base extending the current façades while the openings are in line with the rhythm of the original building. Each, partially or entirely, new façade forms a coherent whole with the reinforced mineral angles providing the framework for a more open sequence in the centre.
Two large industrial-style statuesque boxes loom above the roof-top mouldings, clad in a double semi-transparent layer of glass and perforated coppery metal and echoing the tiles on the saw tooth roofs. These are intended as a metaphor of the former industrial features.
The adjacent cut of the Petite Ceinture (an abandoned railway line) was decked over to create a garden. Planted with ground covering plants, shrubs and trees, the garden slopes down from Rue Regnault to the new garden level, reflecting the characteristic bucolic image of the embankments of the Petite Ceinture, where vegetation takes over any available space.
The new extension houses a nursery in its north-east corner and a day centre for the homeless in its north-west corner, both situated on the garden and ground-floor levels.
The work spaces inside the building are designed to facilitate contact, interaction, formal and informal relations. This result is achieved through clearly designed spaces (atrium and vertical access flows), quality of the working environment (natural light, acoustics and ergonomics) and green spaces.