‘Virtual’ inauguration of the new Le Monde HQ on 16 december 2020.
It is a strange vessel that has been moored next to the Austerlitz station, at the bow of the new Paris Rive Gauche district. Designed to house the 1,600 employees of the Le Monde group, the building does not go unnoticed. Adjacent to the Austerlitz station, its impressive bridge-building, 137m long and 37m high, relies on transparency and openness, seen as architectural metaphors for a free press.
The building takes its singular form from the site where it was built. Originally, the slab destined to receive the project, which overhangs the platforms of the Austerlitz station, was to accommodate two distinct structures.
Each was to be located at one end, since the central part of the slab could not be built on. The Snøhetta architectural firm proposed to merge the two parts, spaced 80 m apart, by connecting them with a steel load-bearing structure with a total weight exceeding the Eiffel Tower.
The inevitable Bureau Greisch carried out part of the execution studies for Eiffage. An important part concerned the verification and reinforcement of the existing track covers on which the new building is supported. Greisch was also responsible for the management of the site loads on the existing slab and the structural checks under the stresses of the cranes, ballast and assembly packages.
The pixelated facades, made of 20,000 transparent, translucent or opaque glass elements, catch the light beautifully. “The building is all about openness, at a time when fear and uncertainty are driving our societies to build walls and withdraw into themselves,” says Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, founder of Snøhetta.
About the Author:
Bruno Dursin – Managing Director at Believe in Steel. Bruno has more than 30 years of experience in promoting steel & steel solutions. His clients benefit from his extensive network within the building industry.