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Jean-Paul Viguier et Associés : Site fiduciaire de la Banque de France

Located in La Courneuve, in a former industrial wasteland, the fiduciary site of the Banque de France designed by the Jean-Paul Viguier and Associates agency was inaugurated at the beginning of last year. An achievement combining new construction and rehabilitation, characterized by an effort to combine security and openness to the neighborhood. Explanations.

It was in 1898 that Babcock & Wilcox, an American company specializing in the manufacture of industrial boilers, moved to La Courneuve, in Seine-Saint-Denis. Quickly, the firm became a leader in its field, building hangars, factories and other halls to meet its production needs. But with the nuclear boom in the 1960s, Babcock & Wilcox lost momentum, so much so that the site was gradually abandoned during the last quarter of the XNUMXth century, until it was completely deserted.

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It's here, "On this wasteland on the edge of the A86", that the Banque de France asks 2014 agency Jean-Paul Viguier and Associates to design its new fiduciary site. The objective: to rehabilitate two old buildings of the metallurgical plant into offices, and build a new building in which to be treated, "At the opening, more than a billion tickets, a quarter of the national volume"explain the architects. An already arduous mission, to which is added, in addition, a little subtlety: indeed, the project is part of "a desire to preserve the emblematic heritage of the old industrial halls". A way to revitalize the neighborhood as part of Greater Paris. But how could an ultra-secure building contribute to the new influence of a sector? By designing a "safe" that would not look inward but open to the environment. Yes but how ?

To these questions, the architects of the agency Jean-Paul Viguier and Associates respond with a realization "Composed of the juxtaposition of several cubic volumes". This one welcomes "The automated high-speed control of banknotes with automatic destruction of used banknotes and the removal of doubtful banknotes. Storage of values ​​is ensured in a "greenhouse" high 26 meters ", as the designers detail. Although they favor sobriety, the architects avoid the trap of construction-fortress by working as much as possible on the question of openings. So, "The white ceramic facade deploys a set of recessed and alternating patterns that softens the defensive character and creates a vibration depending on the sun", while a patio pierced in the center of the volume allows the staff to take the air during the breaks.

A flagship construction completed by the rehabilitation of two halls - one in concrete, the other in brick - located at the entrance to the site and which formerly belonged to the firm Babcock & Wilcox. “Renovated with respect for their singularity”, these two volumes which house the offices are also intended for public reception. A good way to offer the transparency necessary for the fiduciary site for its integration into the life of the neighborhood.

The project is selected for the ADC Awards 2019 in the Mixed category.

To learn more, visit the ADC Awards website and Jean-Paul Viguier et Associés.

Photos: Takuji Shimmura

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