HDE 17 is a business park for startups in the agri-food sector in La Rochelle. It is the second of its kind in France. It is situated in an industrial area, near the seaport. The surrounding landscape is like any typical industrial zone, comprised of old and new big steel boxes without identity or quality.
For the HDE 17 building, the client wanted a high level process industry “lookalike” that will landmark the expected change in the area and seduce startups in the agri-food sector.
The main function of the building is to provide a complete and high-level tool for startups that cannot afford to build their own factory. The goal is to rent them a process space for 1 to 5 years to develop a product.
The interior is highly complex due to the sanitary constrains along with the client’s wish for flexibility. Workspaces are considered as cells, organized around the flux of production (from raw material to the finished goods). Cells can be enlarged by opening sidewalls to adjoining cells. Flexibility is the great advantage of this agri-food sector business park and has also been the great technical challenge.
The outside skin is made of white expanded steel panels wrapped around the building. It gives the building a clean and high-level process look. The main entrance and trucks access way are landmarked by a striking canopy covering a blue void.
The architectural challenge has been to redefine the typical industrial box and turn it into a great flexible production tool with a positive outlook.