New workshop at La Villette
In asking the architect Stéphane Maupin to put up a building dedicated to track maintenance and training on the industrial site of La Villette, RATP pursues a unique building policy that started nearly 20 years ago in the interest of greater harmony in the Paris region.
Its goal is also to create a city with a difference, better because of its diversity. The focus is on architectural quality not only to enhance the brand image, but also to form a social link. The five-storey building surrounded by tracks seems to slice through the rail network like a submarine cutting through an ice field.
On board the “helicopter building”
An ecological photovoltaic tripod towers over the 3,500 m² building and its façade dotted with round holes like a Swiss cheese.
Though its main purpose is the training of RATP staff, it also doubles as a maintenance centre. Its massive form opens up to the world outside through the large cafeteria window overlooking the Paris ring road.
The main staircase is tiled like a typical underground station, the cloakrooms are convenient and welcoming, hand basins are decorated with colourful smileys, and several meal options are available in the cafeteria, from à la carte to a fast-cooking area. The futuristic building with its revisited Haussmann style combines practicality with a playfulness that reflects the spirit of its designer: Stéphane Maupin. The site was built in accordance with the “green design” principles of HQE, or haute qualité environnementale. According to the architect, this amazing concrete building “resembles the staff: it is sturdy, uncompromising and masculine but with a touch of imagination and lightness”.
>> Read the work on the La Villette workshops [This content is not available in English]
Biography of Stéphane Maupin
Born in 1965 in Marseilles. Architect, stage designer, designer. Graduated from the École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées. After obtaining a Master’s degree in Architecture at SCI-Arc, Los Angeles, he went to Japan on a “Villa Médicis Hors les Murs” scholarship. On his return, he joined Philippe Starck’s team in which he worked for three years. Stéphane Maupin spent some time in Brazil in 2001 to prepare for the Parade exhibition in the Oca designed by Oscar Niemeyer and based on the Pompidou Centre’s collections, in São Paulo. In 2003, together with Nicolas Hugon, he founded his own agency (fantasticAsset Management), which for example designed the Tokyo Eat restaurant in the Palais de Tokyo.
2008 selected for the architecture section of the
2002 selected for the architecture section of the Venice Biennale
1999 São Paulo architecture biennale for young designers