Foster + Partners unveils mixed-use Hermitage

By Richard High12 March 2009

Foster + Partners has unveiled images of the mixed-use Hermitage Plaza, Paris, France situated east

Foster + Partners has unveiled images of the mixed-use Hermitage Plaza, Paris, France situated east of La Défense, which includes two 323 m -high buildings - the tallest mixed-use towers in Western Eu

Foster + Partners has unveiled images of a mixed-use project in Paris at MIPIM in Cannes, France.

The Hermitage Plaza will be a new mixed-use community east of La Défense, in Courbevoie, that extends down to the river Seine with cafés, shops and a public plaza at its heart. The project includes two 323 m -high buildings - the tallest mixed-use towers in Western Europe.

The project, a close collaboration with EPAD (Etablissement Public de l'Aménagement de La Défense - the Public Body charged with the development of La Défense.), the City of Courbevoie, Atelier de Paysage Urbain and Département de Hauts-de-Seine, is intended to inject life into the area by creating a "sustainable, high-density community".

Construction is expected to start in 2010 and is due for completion by the end of 2014. The two towers will include a hotel, spa, panoramic apartments, offices and serviced apartments, as well as shops at their base.

Forming two interlocking triangles on plan, the towers face one another at ground level. At ground level pedestrians will have access to a public piazza, which establishes the social focus of the site. As they rise, the towers transform, turning outward towards the city.

Glazed façade panels will catch the light, with the sun "animating" different facets of the buildings as moves across the sky during the day. The angle of the panels will also provide shading and vents can be opened to draw fresh air inside, contributing to Foster + Partners' environmental strategy for the site that targets a BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) ‘excellent' rating.

The towers' crystal-shaped podium will contain office space, with two detached "satellite buildings" containing a gallery and auditorium. The piazza, which will be created by burying an existing busy road beneath a landscaped deck, will slope gently downward to the water's edge, which is lined with new cafés and restaurants.

Commenting on the designs,Norman Foster said, "Hermitage Plaza will create a 24-hour community that will regenerate the riverfront and inject new life into a predominantly commercial part of the city. A light catching addition to the Paris skyline, the development will also provide a public piazza that leads down to the river's edge to create a new destination for the city."

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