Following on from our previous article in The Style Examiner that Foster + Partners had unveiled plans for Marseille’s Old Port, the practice is now celebrating having been granted ‘Permis de Construire’ for the Hermitage Plaza in Paris. The project will comprise two 320-metre-high buildings (the tallest mixed-use towers in Western Europe) and is expected to create a new community in Courbevoie, to the east of La Défense, that extends down to the river Seine with cafés, shops and a public plaza at its heart.
The result of a close collaboration with the planning authorities (EPAD, the City of Courbevoie, Atelier de Paysage Urbain and Département de Hauts-de-Seine), the project is intended to inject life into the area east of La Défense by creating a sustainable, high-density community. The two towers accommodate a hotel, spa, panoramic apartments, offices and serviced apartments, as well as shops at the base.
The buildings face one another at ground level. Open and permeable to encourage people to walk through the site, the towers enclose a public piazza (created by burying the existing busy road beneath a landscaped deck) lined with new cafés and restaurants. As they rise from an interlocking diamond-shaped plan, the towers turn outward to address views across Paris. The angle of the façade panels promotes self-shading while vents can be opened to draw fresh air inside, contributing to an environmental strategy that targets a BREEAM ‘excellent’ rating. At the same time, the diagrid structure uses less steel and emphasises the proportions of the towers.