Snøhetta-designed headquarters for the Le Monde Group opens in Paris

Set within the capital’s 13th arrondissement, the office provides newsrooms for each of the French media company Le Monde Group’s publications, under the same roof, for the first time.

With its bold new plaza and semi-transparent outer skin, the building creates connections to the general public and surrounding transit while also offering citizens and passersby a generous respite in the city. A translucent, dynamic façade and expansive public plaza express the building’s openness to its surrounding context.

The concave form of the building bridges over the below-grade railyard, anchored on both sides with two seven-story cantilevering volumes held together by a complex network of steel.

Situated below the warmly lit arch of the building, custom-designed concrete benches offer refuge from the activity of the busy surrounding area. The site further encourages diverse transit modes and greener mobility alternatives with more than 300 bicycle parking slots and through its immediate proximity to the neighboring train station. 

The building’s pixelated outer skin is composed of more than 20,000 pixelated glass elements in a strictly organized pattern with 772 possible configurations, that give the building a sheer appearance that shifts with the changing weather and light conditions.

Each glass element represents one distinct pixel classified on an opacity scale ranging from transparent to fully opaque depending on its placement, allowing for the best views from the building as well as a maximum of daylight penetration.

This highly sophisticated pattern references the printed letters of newspapers and magazines and makes up a text-like pattern that can be read more clearly when the 10 000 m2 facade is seen from afar.

The materiality of the plaza is predominated by concrete with clear references to the urban context of the building. The concrete environment creates a sense of continuity and consistency, as if parts of the ground were gently peeled back and fused into the arching roof soaring above the plaza.

From 2021, this physical connection will be further enhanced with the introduction of a new bridge that will be spanning across the neighboring railways of the Gare d’Austerlitz.


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