Collines_Vue aérienne 02
1991 • Les Collines de la Défense
Paris la Défense Business District

Winner of the limited international competition launched in 1986 by then French President Francois Mitterrand, the "Collines" (The Hills) are located at the Western tip of Paris' sleek glass-and-steel Business District, and are framing the famous great Arch. The latter constitutes, by its monumentality, the main scale's reference.

  • The starting idea is to initially conceive the founding network of a complex urban grid, which weaves numerous links between the surrounding objects. Such network is materialized, on its Northern fringe, by four parallel blades that are perpendicular to the 6-mile long Historic Axis running from the Louvre museum to La Défense that built itself on both sides of it. Their horizontality, their formal abstraction and their few degrees gap in regards of said axis (to mirror the Louvre's similar one) leave to the Great Arch its stunning strength and its unique object shape.
  • A 100-meter long and 30-meter high glass prism, facing the sunset,crosses obliquely and ordinates this built system as a layer. Here comes The Great Nave, true urban space that regroups pedestrian walkways, shopping street, restaurant and offices access. Its peculiar orientation, parallel to the Great Arch's, express this public space exceptional character. Sinking into the surrounding slab, the Great Nave seeks for the ground and opens it to light. Far from being isolated from the other objects that surround it, it forms the street-level journeys' crossroad, flooded in sunlight, and connecting the subway system with the futuristic CNIT and the Great Arch.

Program: competition by invitation winner 1986 • Built area: 120,000 sq.m. • Northern "Colline": 90,000 sq.m., four office edifices-blades crossed by the Nave (a fully glassed gallery)) with retail and restaurants, archives and parkings • Southern "Colline": 30,000 sq.m., 4 office buildings connected by a covered gallery, with retail and restaurants, infrastructures, archives and parkings •
Schedule: start of studies November 1986 • delivery: June 1990
Developer/Contracting authority: SAEM TÊTE DÉFENSE • Architects: Jean-Pierre Buffi & Marianne Buffi with B. Lenormand

Une réalisation Heuveline