Docks en Seine

Location: Paris
Designer: Jakob+MacFarlane, Paris, France
Project: Fashion and Design Citadel
Project Team: Gardera, Ablott, Manchego, Bismuth, Fricout, Gamelin, Lahoude, Maier, Pernot, Prunier, Sablayrolles, Villadier
Lighting artist: AIK - Yann Kersalé
Investor: Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations
Engineering firm : Icade Arcoba
General contractor : Eiffage
Landscape architect :Michel Desvigne
Completed: 2008
Steel profiles for façades and roofs: Sistema Stabalux, Palladio SpA Treviso (Italia)
Photographs: © Jakob + MacFarlane -N. Borel photography
The structural grid that holds up the new skin is the outcome of the project process to distort the layout of the previous building

This area, which was formerly a suburb and has now become part of the centre of Paris, has always housed the warehouses, stores and work areas necessary for the factories, which were able to profit from the barges sailing down the river Seine and, later, the railway nearby, which formed an important and historic trading post for supplies and shipments.
The recovery project for the area began years ago through an International competition, leaving the competitors total freedom of design regarding the future of the construction, in deciding whether it should be demolished or maintained.
The choice of the winning firm, Jakob+MacFarlane, was to preserve the large reinforced concrete construction from 1907 (one of the first reinforced concrete buildings in Paris), which stands as a historic witness to the era and could act as a seed to model and influence the new project. The recovery of the area was not just limited to the building but the extended area, proposing new strategies and cultural programmes to revive the site.
The historic building is on three storeys, and was designed as a series of four pavilions with a structural frame with a pitch of 10 and 7.5 meters. Inspired by the flowing Seine and the walks along the riverbanks, the new project converts the industrial building, leaving the traces of the concrete structure, and includes a lightweight steel and glass web, known as a “plug-over”.
The idea is to create a new “dress” to protect the previous reinforced concrete structure and, at the same time, house technological spaces in the folds of this unusual new “fabric” and strengthen the links between the pedestrian tracks that lead to the panoramic roof terrace.
The structural grid that holds up the new skin is the outcome of the project process to distort the layout of the previous building, following a growing logic: like new branches on the trunk of an old tree, the new added parts seem to be born from the original structure following and giving form to its growth.
Inside, the large windows with steel frames and glass curtain walls are detached from the original structure, giving an overall view of the historic building. The steel frames, with their very strong and narrow sections, mean that very large openings can be achieved enhancing the transparency of the glass and the filigree supporting frame.
The building is fully integrated into its surroundings and open to all the flows of visitors and passers-by, who can freely pass through it to reach the other side, as if it were a public gallery, a park or a part of the city.
Inside there are spaces for recreational areas, shops, bookshops and exhibition areas for fashion and design shows.

Marina Cescon
Acciaio Arte Architettura 11