• Activities and Offices: The Big Bets of Active Living

    How to respond to the evolution of a sector in constant renewal while being in agreement with the development challenges of the metropolises of our time? AZC Architects presents its vision of this topic.

    The globalization of national economies, which adopt the same principles of production, is reflected in an identical urban modeling of world cities. The territories of Paris, Montreal, Brussels, Sydney or Tokyo undergo the same phenomena of spreading, deconcentrations or urban polarizations.

    Dans la région parisienne, l’ensemble de l’organisation métropolitaine reflète l’organisation des marchés immobiliers de bureaux, tant les enjeux financiers qu’ils représentent, sont déterminants. Le phénomène est largement expliqué par l’économiste et sociologue Saskia Sassen, dans ‘Global City’.

    Today Paris is the French region in which the 'metropolitan condition' opens widely the field of possibilities in the architecture of activities. With renovations of anonymous or iconic buildings, new buildings on islands and wasteland, Paris reinforces its polarities in neighborhoods like La Défense and continues actively spreading to the peripheries, following the trend.

    The City also supports the construction of offices and business premises at favorable rates, designed to facilitate the creation of young businesses: business hotels, nurseries, workshops.

    Other, more traditional, public players are also starting to create new types of activity buildings: fablabs, innovation centers … University campuses and research centers with land, want today open their scientific and experimental activities to new, more dynamic and inclusive economies.

    An evolutionary architecture

    At the time of a vibrant culture, space must be designed for evolution and change.

    The evolution of buildings is for us a recurring concern. Subject to change of ownership, changing standards or simply a desire for renewal, each construction should, ideally, be able to play new roles whenever necessary.

    The structure as a guarantee of coherence

    Most often, the structure is a way of considering buildings in their evolution capacity. The precise analysis of the structures and the operating diagrams makes it possible to decide finely on the transformation of each one. The structure is a means of scheduling that can guarantee consistency throughout the life of a building.


    In urban areas, transformation is more than ever a fundamental subject that allows recycling and upgrading of existing heritage by bringing the building up to general standards. Paris has many buildings built during the growth cycles of the 1970s to 2000, which have the potential to be transformed into qualitative spaces and economically very profitable. The idea is not to make neutral shells ready to be "filled", but to design spaces that could free uses.

  • Designing an attractive city for residents
    by AZC Architectes

    With the stakes of our time AZC Architects tries to design a city that remains attractive to its inhabitants.

    The political project of Greater Paris has the effect, urban densification of municipalities in Ile de France.

    New housing, business premises, equipment and public transport, will reorganize the scattered territory that is now formed by individual houses, small industries and wastelands. The urban challenges are enormous, to propose a soft, pleasant, benevolent urbanism in which inhabitants and nature will share the territory of Greater Paris. We know that the house is a model that can no longer meet the need to densify, but should we already assert this break in density, without taking into account the context? Soft densification is a solution that aims to reinvent and mix, transition typologies, drawing their DNA in existing fabrics - pavilions, industries, large ensembles of the seventies. If densification is to make us agree to no longer live in single-family houses with private gardens, we can however claim to live in the big city by inviting nature to take an important place in the urban environment.

    This amounts to freeing space on the ground, creating gardens, meeting places, culture, breathing, so that the density becomes acceptable to all inhabitants. It is in this spirit that we intend to design projects whose quality begins with the city, the neighborhood.

    This amounts to freeing space on the ground, creating gardens, meeting places, culture, breathing, so that the density becomes acceptable to all inhabitants. It is in this spirit that we intend to design projects whose quality begins with the city, the neighborhood.

    A new look is needed to first design dwellings and not anonymous bars and towers. In the middle of the gardens, they will be given to read as coherent assemblages which make the cohabitation pleasant. Villages of large villas, in which the unit width of each dwelling is perceptible. This width, which is reminiscent of the historical dwelling of the pavilions, corresponds today to the constructive framework and can be revealed in the architecture of the buildings. At the same time by slight shifts in plan and by a variety in the épannelages which operate on this rhythm. The villas buildings can contain a wealth of units and express as many ways to live, in the form of housing that share common circulation or small individual duplexes, accessible directly from the gardens. Most new housing programs organize social mix on the same site, which is a good thing. For the cohabitation between seniors, students, social housing and those in accession, is likely to succeed, we must find the right measure between intimacy and sharing common spaces.

    The distribution of housing units in built-up complexes is an act that requires equity and balance. Everyone aspires to a good orientation, a qualitative view towards the outsides, even in the conditions of a denser dwelling. The fine job is to preserve the privacy of each home. For cohabitation to be well lived, it is important to let everyone have the opportunity if they wish to be at home and not to mix. All of the above makes sense when every unit, every dwelling, without exception, has been designed to ensure the simplest operation and to guarantee the highest quality of the spaces that compose it. From Q3, all dwellings are traversing or double oriented, which implies a larger number of staircases. For the common areas, the halls, the stairs and the spaces in front of the elevators are all lit naturally.

    The day and night spaces are clearly defined and each has its private outdoor space with dimensions allowing real use. Inside, the rooms all have dimensions that can be furnished, simple shapes, a generous amount of natural light, a kitchen with window, without imposing the facade fully glazed for all. Architecture and the choice of materials are closely linked to uses and wear. Thus, durable and easy-care assemblies are placed where they are directly accessible by the inhabitant, where there is wear: the common areas, the interior of the balconies, the glazed frames, the blinds, the guard -body, the ground floor of facades. Elsewhere, in inaccessible places, the focus is on aging quality, a beautiful patina.

    Reconciling inhabitants with nature by creating strong links between housing and the landscape around it, contributes to the attractiveness of the dense city. The organization of the site is essential for the preservation of good sunshine, the fight against heat islands, the storage and recovery of water, the protection of biodiversity. The distances between buildings, the percentage of space in the ground due to parking, the development of mineral passages, have an impact on the quality of life in the dense city. The massive presence of nature, encourages interactions between neighbors. Some outdoor spaces will receive more specific functions. Large clearings are areas of biodiversity, private gardens are outdoor extensions of housing, the passages allow everyone to walk through the island and to go to his home. Finally, the spaces designated for sharing, are equipped with playgrounds, the meal places petanque.