© Leclercq associés

L’Arboretum // Leclercq associés

Nanterre, France

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Arboretum is the most ambitious office real estate project since the construction of the business district of La Défense on the western city limits of Paris in the 1970s.

With a central focus on overall environmental quality, Arboretum will be the largest office project built from solid wood in the world.

© Leclercq associés

© Leclercq associés

The 126,000m2 campus is set to be finished in 2022. The materials, the construction method, the usage and the evolution of the buildings have been designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and maximize their resilience. The use of bio-sourced materials, the bioclimatic design, the production of renewable energy (photovoltaic and geothermal) make the site a true model of sustainable development and marks a new stage in ecological transition.

Arboretum is the most ambitious office real estate project since the construction of the business district of La Défense on the western city limits of Paris in the 1970s.
With a central focus on overall environmental quality, Arboretum will be the largest office project built from solid wood in the world.

© Leclercq associés

© Leclercq associés

The 126,000m2 campus is set to be finished in 2022. The materials, the construction method, the usage and the evolution of the buildings have been designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and maximize their resilience. The use of bio-sourced materials, the bioclimatic design, the production of renewable energy (photovoltaic and geothermal) make the site a true model of sustainable development and marks a new stage in ecological transition.

The River Seine has been, successively, a magnet for industrial activity and a logistical hub, then later a witness to the deindistrialisation of the towns and suburbs of the Greater Paris.

© Leclercq associés

© Leclercq associés

Now, thanks to the quality of its landscapes, its identity, its leisure facilities, and its reservoir of biodiversity, the river is considered a value “in itself”. It is a question here of revealing this potential via a project which derives its qualities precisely from its location in an exceptional site – a site of memory.

© Leclercq associés

© Leclercq associés

It is vital that the opening of this enclave is used as an opportunity to create a new “address”, a place of convergence capable of perpetuating the different histories informing the site. A history of work in all its formsIn the 1950s, the Seine Paper Mill employed up to 1,500 people on site.

© Leclercq associés

© Leclercq associés

While there is now no economic necessity for a “heavy” industrial complex a mere stone’s throw away from Europe’s leading business district, there is scope for creating a site that perpetuates this history of work by adapting it to current needs and exploiting its manifold aspects. These include metropolitan decision-making functions articulated around an ambitious tertiary campus focused on innovation; premises hosting activities at various scales fully open to a fabric of productive and/or creative SMEs; commercial functions; and, lastly, logistical functions, since access to the river and rail services presents a rare opportunity that should not go to waste.

© Leclercq associés

© Leclercq associés

A landscape historyTo relocate to this gentle slope leading to the Seine, with its breath-taking views of the embankments and the Ile Fleurie, is to imagine the continuation of a story whose first episode was written with the Chemin de l’Ile Park, the towpath, and the first industrial encounters with the French capital’s river.

© Leclercq associés

© Leclercq associés

A remarkable operation highlighting a landscape of embankments, the project for the park incorporates both the waterway and the issue of sustainable energy within its very heart. The concept underpinning the project focuses on the park, linking its various features and proposing a visual extension without creating a new enclosed space recalling the fortress of the Paper Mill.

The philosophy of the Arboretum is based on a simple principle: offer each office a connection to the outside landscape providing terraces allowing people to work in exterior meeting rooms, an outdoor amphitheatre as well as working bubbles in the park.

© Leclercq associés

© Leclercq associés

The buildings of the campus will follow a curved central pathway; the varied surfaces are distributed upon plateaus of different levels, ideal for urban planning flexibility.

Wood will be the aesthetic link between the various architectures of the campus and the nature of the gardens. The offices will be made of cross-laminated solid wood (CLT), with the innovative low carbon technology developed by WO2.

© Leclercq associés

© Leclercq associés

By turning away from widely used reinforced concrete structures, the Arboretum positions itself at the forefront of the contemporary ecological transition. Attuned to the senses, the site will offer unrivalled acoustic and visual wellbeing with its full-height bay windows along with the scent of wood essences cultivated in the surrounding area.

Furthermore, the scale of the project makes it possible to develop a cycle of circular economy around urban agriculture.

© Leclercq associés

© Leclercq associés

Employees will be able to get involved in initiatives promoting biodiversity and sustainable development. A large orchard and vegetable garden will produce around 25 tonnes of fruit and vegetables per year on the campus. Cultivated organically and without pesticides, they will be used by in situ restaurants. The compost will be produced locally from organic waste from the on-site kitchens, just as rainwater will be collected for watering..

© Leclercq associés

© Leclercq associés

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