Be Open - A11
Building A11 benefits from a particularly privileged location, located as it is in Paris’ 13th district on the second section of Avenue de France, leading to the Austerlitz train station. As in the Haussmann tradition, its corner location enhances its role as an urban hinge and landmark.
Another particularity of the site is its being built above an SNCF tunnel and along the railway tracks which were determinant factors in the project’s design. This 8-storey building emerges from the context’s importance, and its weight and loads carried to the ground condition the choice of a metal structure offering the benefit of lightness and longer reach.
Although all the standards of a traditional office building are there in the way it functions and is laid out, the architectural choice of the envelope has been determined by the dizzying amount of movement around the building.
Movement on all sides from the vehicles and pedestrians on Avenue Mendès-France to the trains and the overhead metro line. The general design has been inspired by it, based on a horizontal wall pattern, alternating full aprons with aligned windows.
This initial configuration is then filled out by a folding envelope of aluminum tubing that covers some of the windows, thus turning the continuity of the horizontal stratification into dotted lines. The tubular pattern creates a virtual volume that waves like a flag, like a metal cloud, creating depth and shade. This system generates a moiré or Gauss effect that changes as one walks past. With aluminum being very sensitive to light variations, the building changes in the viewer’s eye from matt to satin, from sparkling to evanescent and constantly plays with its limits and contours.