French media company Le Monde Group has recently welcomed its 1,600 employees into its new headquarters, a striking Snøhetta-designed building that’s not only certified BREEAM Excellent but has also been awarded the prestigious French real estate prize, Grand Prix SIMI, in the category “New Office Building Larger than 10,000 square meters.” Located in the city’s 13th arrondissement, the curvaceous office building draws the eye with its bold plaza, soaring archway and semi-transparent outer skin that comprises over 20,000 pixelated glass elements in a pattern with nearly 800 possible configurations. The facade’s sophisticated, text-like pattern evokes the printed letters of newspapers and magazines.
Located at the intersection of Paris’ old historic parts and the more modern district on the Rive Gauche, the 23,000-square-meter Le Monde Group Headquarters unites the company’s six newsrooms, which had been previously scattered across different sites in the city, under one roof. Transparency, accessibility and a sense of open dialogue with Paris drove the design of the building’s translucent, dynamic facade and public plaza with ground-floor retail spaces. The site also features over 300 bicycle parking spots and easy access to a neighboring train station.
“Since its inception the Le Monde Group Headquarters has embodied an architectural and symbolic counterpoint to the many challenges our societies face today,” said Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, founding partner of Snøhetta. “The building is primarily about opening up in a time where fear and uncertainty pushes our societies to increase barriers and strengthen security enforcement. In this sense, the project invites us to reflect on how architecture can create spaces that can be both public and private, exterior and interior, transparent or opaque. Like so many other of our projects, it is a hybrid building that explores the interstices of architecture and that is conceived to be at the service of the public.”
Solar panels cover almost the entire roof of the building, while a portion of the building is pulled back to make room for an open-air terrace framed in vegetation. Accessible from both sides of the structure, the elevated terrace provides stunning views of the surrounding cityscape and the Seine River. Inside, the light-filled interiors include high-quality, expansive offices with a variety of flexible workspaces and meeting rooms as well as amenities such as a library, a staff restaurant, an auditorium and a Le Monde Group analogue archive.
Photography by Marwan Harmouche, Ludwig Favre and Jared Chulski via Snøhetta