Although it certainly looks like it might take flight, this maintenance building for the Paris public transportation can't really fly. The helicopter blade looking attachment on the roof is part of RATP's (Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens) environmental program and is covered in solar panels. Industrial looking on the exterior and dotted with portholes, the RATP Formation Center by Stéphane Maupin is out to prove that an HQE program can also be fun.
RATP, which owns and operates the Paris Metro, bus lines, three tram lines and the Montmartre Funicular, moved into its new maintenance building last fall after its completion in September 2010. The 3,400 sq meter facility is located at the edge of the city center in an industrial area between Paris’ main highway, train tracks, factories, and social housing areas. Train tracks for the metro run right by the building and into long maintenance warehouses next door. Inside, the five-story building is full of color and fun design elements to liven up the workplace. The exterior is accented by bright orange caution stripes, presumably to ensure that no one runs into the building.
The most noticeable element of the design is the blade-like installation on the roof, which is covered in solar panels and acts as a forceful symbol of the company’s commitment to the environment. The tripod helix also combines the building’s vertical chimney for ventilation and light projectors for daylighting that are part of their program to achieve HQE (Haute Qualité Environnementale, a green building standard for France). Surrounded by concrete, the pie-shaped building is also constructed of concrete and punctuated with porthole windows, cantilevered balconies and catwalks.
Images ©Stéphane Maupin Architecture + Design