We were commissioned to design a shared office building in the new mixed-used district of Belvédère, in Bordeaux. It should facilitate new ways of working that are supportive of the flexibility, collectivity and diversity required by today’s entrepreneurs.
The building’s prominent corner location on the central axis of Boulevard Joliot-Curie necessitated an active, inviting ground floor that functions as an extension of the workplace and public space.
To create this, we integrated the surrounding public space by literally drawing it into the building to create an open ground floor. This becomes the ‘WeSpace’, the social hub that contains the building’s shared functions such as the café, meeting areas and flexible workspaces. Impressive arched concrete beams create a strong visual appeal that supports the creative ambitions of the space.
WeSpace: where all the (inter)action happens.
At a time where work becomes more independent of time and place, the building’s added value lies in the creation of spaces for interaction. As the social heart of the building, the ‘WeSpace’ is a collective, versatile space for working, leisure and meeting.
On the upper floors, the vertical circulation garden offers shared meeting and seating areas, and consciously connects to the adjacent ‘pocket park’, a compact green space between the buildings that offers a calm respite from the busy boulevard.
Facette is designed as a sculptural volume that grounds the building onto the site.
Flexibility was an important consideration to allow the building to adapt to new future functions. Work floors can be customised thanks to the open layouts created by relocating the stairwell from the core to the facade. This stairwell is organised as a green, vertical office garden that connects to the adjacent ‘pocket park’.
Facette’s site-specific design means the building fronts all sides. Sand-coloured travertine clads the facades in the spirit of Bordeaux’s historic stone architecture. Each facade responds to its surroundings and function. In this way, the facade fans out from the pocket park along the east facade towards the boulevard. This creates the necessary transparency towards the pocket park and train tracks. Facing the boulevard, it appears more enclosed as a buffer against sound and direct sunlight.
A grid structure organises the facades and maintains visual coherence. The narrow openings above the open and transparent ground floor become wider towards the top of the building to capture the spectacular views. Shifting perspectives of the facades come into play from different viewpoints.
We integrated sustainability in the widest sense in the development, right from the outset, across all aspects of the building, and with its occupants.
The green facades and roofs contribute to a healthy and more pleasant urban climate. In this way, the air surrounding the green roofs and facades remains cooler and the air humidity is higher than with a conventional building. The design promotes the reduction of the urban heat island effect, particulate matter, air pollution and the health issues that accompany this.
Rainwater is collected on the green roofs and concealed in rainwater tanks for later use. Internally, water supply is separated by function and reused onsite in the office and for garden irrigation. In this way, the building becomes water neutral.
And of course, roof terraces on the boulevard offer the best views over Bordeaux.