• 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.