Le Bureau 4148

The lot for this project is an island lot, so it surrounded by 10m wide streets from north, east and west sides and a 40m wide boulevard from the south side. The program called for 200m2 offices topping a retail base.

We decided early on in the design process to re think the office building typology, which speaks of a strict geometry and preset bays. We also did not want to fall within the stereotype of the "tower" as the only way to create visibility for a contemporary project. Having established the above parameters, we began with a reverse process of design. We started with the maximum allowed surface footprint on site and extruded it to the allowed heights as well. Then on, it became a process of carving out, and sculpting this volume to create connections with the context, both immediate and more distant.

The south west corner is mostly voided out, effectively recessing the project a little on that side, while the opposite south east corner is kept very present and frames a large opening (a five floors high window !) that benefits from the great setback and the low level construction that is the church complex located to the east of the project. The west elevation follows the voiding out strategy with two very large carvings, again working on reducing the depth of the building there, especially that the street width there with the setbacks is 13m only

The north side is stepped out to align it with the envelope limitations, and also to create a "kneeling" down effect to the main entrance, in fact reducing a little the impact of the 65m high volume, similarly, other voids/carvings occur to complement this composition and in some places to lessen the depth of the offices and introduce light deep into the ~30mx30m floor plate. As the only other material to the curtain wall, the building is adorned by thin 45cm deep louvers wrapping around the three sun oriented elevations, they are horizontal on the south elevation and vertical on the east/west one, to help control direct sun penetration. They also end up grounding the carved out glass volume, especially during day time, where strong shadows are cast within the deep recesses.

During the night, this effect is reversed. The richly planted gardens are lit to become the main visible elements within the building; their effect is doubled by the mirror glass, so not only is the view of the plants multiplied, but also the lighting effects are so as well. A simple LED point lighting system is spread out in a square pattern on all the louvers, which then becomes a very light skin wrapping this elegant structure. It somehow conceals the building and transforms it into a graceful geometric pattern. The project then becomes skin and suspended gardens.