In Paris, Peugeot’s former headquarters envisions a (nearly) car-free future

In Paris, Peugeot’s former headquarters envisions a (nearly) car-free future

An avant-garde building from the 1960s had not aged very well. It has been completely brought up to date without distorting its architectural treasures; Review the tour.

It’s not easy to remain avant-garde… Built between 1963 and 1973, a stone’s throw from the Arc de Triomphe, the building designed by the Sainsaulieu brothers with a height of 110 meters is the emblem of Avenue de la Grande -Army. In keeping with its time and role as the headquarters of the Peugeot group, it was the driveway between its three-height showroom to admire the brand’s production and its central access to the large underground car park. Gecina, the owner of the premises since 2015, two years before the last departure of Peugeot, is therefore planning a complete renovation of the 33,500 m² of this building.

The work, which was launched at the beginning of 2019, is now in its final stage before the planners make their own plans. The buildings are already 87% leased, knowing that the consulting firm Boston Consulting Group will occupy only 23,500 square meters. The international firm Baumschlager Eberle Architekten was responsible for setting the revival of the place to music. An approach to respect the existing, to greet the natural architecture and ecology, which included promoting natural options while adapting the areas according to the current use.

Reduction of parking spaces

The options leading especially to keep the current facade with its extraordinary format (110 meters high in a Haussmann environment). To give it more stability and light, the spandrels (the wall at the bottom of the windows) were removed and one of the two windows was placed in 4 different deep boxes. A technique that animates the facade, combining concrete and steel, while respecting its original geometry. Only the top floor avoids this floor-to-ceiling glass level interchange to take advantage of the unique view of the main axis, which connects the Grande Arche de La Défense to the Louvre pyramid.

As for the main entrance that allows vehicles to enter and exit the center of the building through the large spiral leading to the underground parking, it has disappeared. The access is now closed and highlighted and the inner courtyard through which the cars pass has been converted into a garden. The underground parking lots have been maintained, but the space allocated to the car has disappeared in isolation. It is now more discreetly accessible from the rear of the building, located on rue Pergolèse, and a good part of the space is reserved for storage, bicycles and technical equipment that were previously visible on the roof. Result: around 350 positions are available against more than 600 in the past. In the end, unlike many current renovations, there was no “pure” surface creation here. On the other hand, the benefit was obtained by improving the space, by obtaining a covered inner courtyard without forgetting 1,000 square meters of accessible inner gardens and 1,800 meters of terraces suitable for the development of biodiversity.

Photovoltaic Farm

Another part where the cars have disappeared now, the “great gallery”, which functioned as an exhibition room and where models of the lion emblem were presented on the ground floor and on the mezzanines. Completely freed from these central levels, the place has an incredible triple height under the ceiling where one wanders through the common areas on the ground floor. With its impressive steel-treated concrete doors, you almost have the feeling of being under the nave of an industrial cathedral.

Finally, like many current sites, a high level has been made for ecology and the reuse of materials. Therefore, the granite slabs that were removed under the windows of the facade were only hammered before they became the covering of the floor. On one of the roofs, we find what presents itself as the largest “photovoltaic farm” in Paris and, finally, the heating uses geothermal energy. On the other hand, Gecina is more reasonable about the cost of work than he communicates. We only know that rent is well positioned in the “core” office rental family.