Paris Diderot University – Voltaire Building

ZAC Masséna, Paris Diderot University Building, Pictures, Design, Architecture

Paris Diderot University : Voltaire Building

Higher Education Development in France – design by Antonini + Darmon Architectes

9 Dec 2011

Voltaire building : M3A2 – Cultural and Community Tower

Paris Diderot University, ZAC Masséna

Design: Antonini + Darmon Architectes

Paris Diderot University Paris Diderot University ZAC Masséna Paris Diderot University Tower Paris Diderot University Building
photographs from Antonini + Darmon Architectes

English text (Scroll down for French):

The buildings of the cultural and community premises of Paris Diderot University fit into the undeveloped, southwest area of the Flour Market which was recently converted by Nicolas Michelin and Associates Agency. A break between the Flour Market and the new building is preserved. It respects the existing building and accentuates the slenderness of the tower. The two, independent buildings coexist completely. The signal-like extension stands out of its context by means of its evolving shape. It is a sensitive, delicate object, treated simply to avoid rivalry with the strong presence of the Flour Market. On the contrary it acts as a light, gravitational counterpoint. An architectural dialectic and emulation come into play much like a castle and its keep, both intrinsically inseparable.

The area left for the conception of the building was about 20m x7m, and were allowed to reach a nice height so we used that height at most.

The Voltaire building had to be in extension of the Flour Market building renewed in 2009 by Nicolas Michelin architect. Nicolas Michelin imagined the renew as a “boat in the bottle” meaning he wanted to keep as possible Flour Market building’s appearance as it was before his contribution. Our purpose was exactly the opposite, we wanted the “boat out(side) of the bottle” so we designed the Voltaire building very close, but without touching the Flour Market except for the small access ramps at the three first levels. The aspect of the new building is also in opposite of the 1950 flour market, it’s a light monolithic diaphanous object, it reflects the lights and shadows, a slight curve brings a feminine sensual dimension, and opens even more the set of light, by swallowing the environment it disappears and clearly appears at the same time.

The Voltaire building is the organ that the flour market was missing, like a boat without sails.

Paris Diderot University Paris Diderot University Tower Paris Diderot University Tower
photographs from Antonini + Darmon Architectes

French text:

Le bâtiment des locaux associatifs et culturels de l’université Paris Diderot vient se glisser à l’angle sud-ouest non construit de la Halle aux Farines récemment restructurée par l’Agence Nicolas Michelin et Associés. Une faille est préservée entre la Halle aux Farines et le nouveau volume. Elle respecte l’édifice existant et donne une allure élancée à la tour. Les deux bâtiments cohabitent en totale indépendance.

L’extension se démarque de son contexte par sa fonction de signal et la forme qui en découle. Objet sensible et délicat, il est traité sobrement afin de ne pas rivaliser avec la présence forte de la Halle aux Farines, mais au contraire, il agit en contre-point léger et gravitationnel. Une dialectique architecturale, une émulation s’opèrent, à l’instar d’un château et de son donjon, tous deux intrinsèquement indissociables.

M3A2 – Cultural and Community Tower – Building Information

Location: Paris Diderot University, 6 Rue Marguerite Duras, Paris 13e, ZAC Masséna
Maîtrise d’ouvrage : SOGAM for Paris Diderot University
Maîtrise d’œuvre : Antonini + Darmon Architectes
Program: cultural and community premises of Paris Diderot University
Area: 550 m² SHON
Cost: 2,5 M euros HT
Finished : Nov 2011

Paris Diderot University : M3A2 – Cultural and Community Tower images / information from Antonini + Darmon Architectes


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