Snøhetta wraps with a pixelated skin made from thousands of glass tiles the new headquarters for French daily newspaper Le Monde in Paris. Set within the capital’s 13th arrondissement, the office provides newsrooms for each of the French media company Le Monde Group’s publications, under the same roof, for the first time.
Snøhetta first revealed the design for Le Monde Group Headquarters in 2015, two weeks after the terrorist attacks on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris. The openness of the design therefore comments on the importance of freedom of speech and also reflects Le Monde Group’s goal of continuing to provide accessible information for all.
“Since its inception, the Le Monde Group Headquarters has embodied an architectural and symbolic counterpoint to the many challenges our societies face today. The building is primarily about opening up in a time where fear and uncertainty pushes our societies to increase barriers and strengthen security enforcement. In this sense, the project invites us to reflect on how architecture can create spaces that can be both public and private, exterior and interior, transparent or opaque. Like so many other of our projects, it is a hybrid building that explores the interstices of architecture and that is conceived to be at the service of the public,” says Founding Partner of Snøhetta, Kjetil Trædal Thorsen.
Sitting adjacent to the historic Gare d’Austerlitz train station, the project is a close neighbor to the historic Latin Quarter and the lushly planted gardens of the Jardin des Plantes. The concave form of the building bridges over the below-grade railyard, anchored on both sides with two seven-story cantilevering volumes held together by a complex network of steel. Three gestural ‘cuts’ shape the building mass: the ‘sky cut’ reveals the oblique surface of the solar-panel-clad roof; the ‘city cut’ pulls the building back from the along its street-facing facade; and the ‘ground cut’ carves out the underside of the bridging structure, enveloping the new public plaza together beneath its expansive arched form.
“The construction of the Le Monde Groupe Headquarters marks a historic milestone for all our publications, explains the CEO of the Le Monde Group, Louis Dreyfus. – Our building illustrates both our editorial and aesthetic ambitions, but also the diversity of our newsrooms. In a world where the demand for high-quality information is only increasing, our new common home offers our 1,600 employees a luminous working space with top amenities and dedicated spaces for each newsroom. This in turn ensures that we can continue to deliver journalistic content on all our platforms and in all formats, whether written or audiovisual, both today and in the future. Moreover, the office interiors, developed in collaboration with Archimage, offer our newsrooms a warm and soothing atmosphere with secluded spaces that ensure privacy when needed,” says CEO of the Le Monde Group, Louis Dreyfus.