Location: Paris, France.

Architect: Valode & Pistre.

Saint-Gobain, a leader in building and highperformance materials, will set up its headquarters in a new tower developed by the Generali Group in the La Défense business district. Valode & Pistre has been retained by Generali, in consultation with Saint-Gobain and EPADESA, following an international architecture consultation. The 49,000 m2 tower aspires to an exemplary level of environmental quality, with particular emphasis on site integration, energy efficiency and user comfort. The architect’s primary role is to provoke this emotion, and several architectural strategies meet this objective. The tower is made up of an assembly of “crystals” and the play of aspects, angles and type of glass makes it alternately transparent or reflective.

The rhombohedron is a cube with faces shaped as diamonds or parallelograms instead of squares or rectangles. The La Défense/Courbevoie tower is a contribution to the La Défense/Courbevoie urban couture and the reurbanisation of the boulevard. It is arranged in three sections, with a main body dedicated to office spaces, a lower section containing services, and an upper section: the Plein Ciel (Open Sky) space. It is designed to provide a link between the worlds of the La Défense esplanade and ring road and the Courbevoie residential areas. Natural lighting is exploited to the full as 90% of the areas outside the core are within 7 m of the façades.

The highest floors are home to the meeting, communication and reception areas. The Tower of La Défense, France is an environmentally- and energy-efficient tower with 2,200 work stations, restaurants, cafeteria, glasshouse with Mediterranean climate, showroom, auditorium, certification HQE “Excellent”, LEED “Gold”, BREEAM “Excellent”, “EFFINERGIE+” label, and 13 hanging gardens of 44 m2, double height, planted with Hawthorn, Dog Rose, Roses with Geraniums, and four levels of planted terraces growing in a 40 m high glasshouse with a temperate atmosphere. There are 150 different species of plants, including tall trees such as Russian Olive, Strawberry Tree, Pomegranate, and Black Olive, medium-height trees such as Hawthorn, Pomegranate, and Black Olive, and soil thickness of 1.50 m for all trees and 0.60 m for supporting plants.

Photo credit: Sergio Grazia.