Canadian Embassy and Cultural Center in Paris
In Paris on rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, the new Canadian
Embassy and the Canadian Cultural center are brought together
in one single restored building.
In 2015, the Canadian government made the decision to leave its historical Embassy and Cultural Center respectively located on rue Constantine and avenue Montaigne. Simultaneously, Ottawa acquired a post-Haussmannian buidling located at 130 rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré in the 8th arrondissement of Paris with the aim to bring its two French entities together in one single buidling.The Faubourg Saint Honoré is a very suggestive name that one will immediately associate with embassies (the US, UK and Japanese embassies are all within walking distance). The 130 Faubourg Saint Honoré stands out by its Haussmannian architecture from the late 19th century.
This new site is a factor of double integration for the Embassy: in France with the typical Parisian facade and in Canada with the the presence of the Cultural center looking directly on to the street. The reunion of the Embassy and the Cultural center brings new architectural dynamics to the building with the creation of new exceptional spaces: an inner garden, extensive high-ceiling shared office spaces and a rooftop terrace with a panoramic view of the city. This panoramic terrace connects the embassy to major Parisian historical spots such as the Eiffel Tower and the Invalides.Creating a link between patrimony and modernity, the architectural stance shows great signs of contemporaneity. The original ground-floor facade was entirely recomposed to create a monumental entrance along the four central bays. The public enters the building through a 4-meter deep double height porch entrance. The walls of this porch entrance have a ribbed appearance due to the use of the traditionnal Canadian Tyndall stone. It is ornamented on both sides with a manganese metal cladding decorated with vegetal pattern created by Micah Lexier that rises up to the first level of the building. In place of the traditionnal double-wing door, two glazed foldable canopies mark the entrance to the building and are for the passersby a visual information on the building’s opening hours.
Inside, the historical courtyard becomes a two-level atrium and exhibition space designed to host the activities and events of the Canadian cultural center under a vast 144m² (1,550 sq ft) glass roof. The project also highlights the country’s artistic production with the presence of several artworks by Canadian contemporary artists intergrated to the building. The venue is designed to represent Canada: vast, spacious, bright and open to all. On the upper levels, the spaces dedicated to the embassy have been entirely remodeled with their future function as architectural concept. That way, the constraints specific to Haussmannian apartments have been diverted in order to keep only the harmony of it. The typical Haussmannian vanishing points have been preserved and highlighted to emphasize the link between the Canadian representation and the surroundings of the building.