La Factory Offices in Boulogne-Billancourt
Avenue Emile Zola, Paris, France
48.846995 | 2.294928000000027
When addressing this project for an office building, we started off by thinking about the entire city block as a series of buildings with spaces between them to introduce light and air into the empty space. In this way we began to see the building as a mass that formed Rue Emile Zola, like a complex volume. We had some prior experience with this type of building in terms of dimensions, depth, and so on, that went almost automatically into the drawings and models. I always start this way, with a very abstract volume as a base.
The history and the setting of the building also have to be taken into account. In this case, we were looking at the former Renault plant, which immediately brought to mind old stories of May 1968 and J.-L. Godard’s film Éloge de l’amour that was made there shortly before the factory was demolished. However, when we visited the site, what we found was a huge, beautiful, expectant empty space, which involved constructing a new part of the city. As an architect, I like that sensation of emptiness waiting to be filled and taking on the responsibility of imposing clarity.