France's leading university for science and medicine will soon have a new research centre in the heart of Paris designed by BIG and OFF Architecture. The new multidisciplinary research centre, Paris PARC, will be located between Jean Nouvel’s Institut du Monde Arabe and the open green park of the Jussieu Campus. Conforming to the dense urban fabric, the building's geometry adapts to the surrounding buildings while remaining optimized for views, daylighting, and accessibility. Topped with a green roof park, Paris PARC encourages interactions amongst the researchers as well as a more visceral connection to the city itself.
Like a mirror, the stealthy building seeks to blend into its environs and fits into the dense context of university buildings from different historical periods. Located at the visual axis of the Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris PARC opens up towards the square of Institut du Monde Arabe and the park. The building’s geometry folds and bends in order to be a good neighbor, but is still optimized for natural daylighting inside and views from the inside.
“As a form of urban experiment the Paris PARC is the imprint of the pressures of its urban context. Wedged into a super dense context – in terms of space, public flows and architectural history – the PARC is conceived as a chain of reactions to the various external and internal forces acting upon it. Inflated to allow daylight and air to enter into the heart of the facility, compressed to ensure daylight and views for the neighboring classrooms and dormitories, lifted and decompressed to allow the public to enter from both plaza and park and finally tilted to reflect the spectacular view of the Paris skyline and the Notre Dame to the Parisians.” – Bjarke Ingels, Founder, BIG.
A central canyon cuts through the middle of the building providing access from one side to the other as well as a way for light to infiltrate into the heart of the research labs. The atrium also hosts a variety of informal meeting spaces to encourage interaction and a public staircase winds up through the building and looks in on the laboratories. Transparent walls ensure visual connections between labs and office spaces as well as infiltrate natural light. The staircase leads up to a faculty club and a public rooftop terrace, which is covered in vegetation and offers up panoramic views towards the Notre Dame and the skyline of Paris. BIG and OFF are collaborating with Buro Happold for engineering, Michel Forgue consultants and environmental engineer Franck Boutte on the 15,000 sq meter research centre for Sorbonne’s Scientific university Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris.