Plateau de Saclay, France, 2011
Programme: EDF Campus for technical and general training, exhibition hall, teaching spaces, library, research, administration, cinema, sport and hotel facilities...
Size: 25 000 m2/100 000m3
Finally we have the chance to work on a giant project, relatively speaking.
In Europe it is impossible to think of the problem of tall buildings. The volumetric context of European cities, the superimposition of layers of history and the relationship of land ownership and development are all factors that play in favour of staying relatively low in building heights. In the 60's, the idea of proliferation was what many architects such as Utzon, Aalto and Saarinen took to its very limits. Organic did not mean a curvy form, but the possibility of addition as a growth pattern. It was theorized and experimented with in what Utzon called 'additive architecture'. We were trying to see if the idea of Organic and additive architecture could be applied to a sectional organization as opposed to a plan.
The project is both a manifesto as well as a belief in enabling repetition to create variety. The sheer size of the building and the height regulations encouraged us to work with the idea of a sleeping skyscraper. Perhaps the front cover of Delirious New York has been engraved into our brains as architects.