Saint-Gobain

Saint-Gobain
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In short

Developer: Paris La Défense
Investors / Developers: Generali / Hines / Adim IDF
Architect: Valode et Pistre
Owner and occupant : Saint-Gobain (World headquarters)
Height: 167m, 37 floors
Surface area: 48,948 sq.m
Location: Esplanade Nord / Iris
Delivered in 2020

Following an international consultation, the architectural, technical and environmental project for the new Saint-Gobain Tower was designed by the Valode & Pistre agency. Its design is crystalline and airy, evoking Saint-Gobain's historic business: glass. Since 2020, the Saint-Gobain Tower has been the world headquarters of Saint-Gobain, which is already present in the Paris La Défense area. At a height of 167 meters, its 49,000 square meters accommodate 2,700 users on 44 levels. 48,575 m² are reserved for offices and 373 m² for various shops. It also has 1,100 square meters of balconies and terraces that are fully accessible to the tower's users, and its base is composed of a showroom area that will house common services, restaurants and an auditorium. Some services will be open to both employees and the public. As for the top of the tower, the 37th floor, called Espace Plein ciel, it will be dedicated to events and will offer a panoramic view, in a cosy and planted space.

It is located in place of the former Iris building. The latter was demolished in 2016 to create a larger square. At the same time, Paris La Défense, the developer and manager of the business district, has redeveloped the Place de l'Iris at the foot of the tower. For Paris La Défense, the construction of this tower and the development of the public space are part of the continuity of the projects undertaken to transform the circular boulevard into an urban boulevard, to improve the links between the slab and the city. It is also the illustration of a new generation of tower, which is efficient, sustainable and at the service of its occupants. On the forecourt, a large monumental staircase and two elevators provide a better link between the city of Courbevoie and the Paris La Défense slab.

A showcase for Saint-Gobain and for the business district

Designed to become a showcase for Saint-Gobain's know-how and image, the approach of architects Valode et Pistre provides solutions to a large number of current issues:

  • The decentralization of the core and its modularity make it a place that can be adapted to constantly changing working conditions
  • The multiplication of services, convivial spaces and outdoor gardens offers a new quality of life for a high-rise building
  • The energy performance, the choice of materials and the bioclimatic concept of the large greenhouses that characterize the tower give it exemplary environmental properties
  • Open to the outside world, the tower accompanies the evolution of the La Défense district and the transformation of the ring road into an urban boulevard

Innovation at the service of the occupants

The tower illustrates Saint-Gobain's expertise in innovative glazing. SageGlass (the dynamic, variable-tint glass) can be seen at the top of the tower. It caps the cube and can darken in case of strong sunlight. Some 80 of the group's materials and solutions, including glazing, thermal and acoustic insulation, and the latest generation of partitions, were used in this project. Comfort is the hallmark of this tower. Everything has been designed to make employees feel comfortable. Inside, for example, they benefit from the effects of reversible radiant ceilings and a very low speed air displacement ventilation system, guaranteeing a high degree of acoustic comfort. To make life and daily life easier for employees, services are offered by selected providers (hairdressing, catering).

Environmental labels and certifications

In addition, the Saint-Gobain Tower has been awarded the four main international environmental certifications in 2021, with the highest ratings. Rewarded for its environmental approach, the tower is the first, and so far the only, high-rise building in France certified :

  • HQE from Certivea - Exceptional level on all themes: environment, comfort, health and energy
  • High energy performance label: Effinergie +
  • LEED ("Building design and construction: Core and Shell Development") from the U.S. Green Building Council - certified Platinum
  • BREEAM International (New Construction) - Outstanding level

A word about the architects

Denis Valode (1946) and Jean Pistre (1951) founded their agency in 1977. In 20 years, it became one of the most important in France. This success was due, among other things, to the reconstruction of the Lainé warehouses in Bordeaux and the construction of the L'Oréal factory in Aulnay-sous-Bois. Today, the two architects are particularly involved in the design of high-rise buildings - in Saint-Denis, Lyon, Beijing and Bombay - and sustainable development.

The tower is divided into three rhombohedrons, cubes whose faces are not square but diamond-shaped. The base houses a showroom, showcasing the company's know-how. The sculptural body is designed according to a play of horizontal and oblique lines, with an almost musical rhythm. "Such an architectural object cannot escape observation. It must have a poetic dimension. Emotion creates adhesion," comments Valode.

Each floor has a terrace with a garden, like cavities dug into the façade. An undeniable technical feat, the head of the tower takes the form of a 40-meter high greenhouse, perched at an altitude of some 150 meters. Made of electrochromic glass, its second skin can change color to protect from the sun.

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Did you know?

The 167-meter high tower received the Geste d'Or Architecture, Innovation and Material award in 2020. This award recognizes the innovative construction techniques used, the bold architecture and the glass envelope of the tower.