A new era for La Défense
Taking advantage of the fact that a plot of an unprecedented scale (nearly 6,500 sqm) has been vacated at the core of La Défense, Groupama Real Estate has chosen to erect an innovative tower that is set to become the symbolic gateway to a new La Défense. A new landmark on the axe historique extending from the Louvre to the Grande Arche, The Link rebalances the skyline of La Défense and will be visible from all the highest points of the capital city. An emblem of the transformation of the area, the tower will be delivered in 2022, just as the Greater Paris public transportation infrastructure project will become a reality with the completion of the extension of the RER E commuter rail service and, shortly after, the Grand Paris Express rapid transit line that will put the area just thirty minutes away from Roissy-Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports. The planned building embodies La Défense’s ambition to become Europe’s most attractive business district, in conjunction with the other major business hubs of the capital city. Locally, The Link reunites the business district with its city. A tower within the city, The Link restores the urban continuity between La Défense and the city center of the neighboring city of Puteaux. This openness will bring about a mixed-use situation and synergies between office spaces, retail venues, and leisure areas in the Michelet section of La Défense, making The Link a social hub as much as a business hub.
Rethinking the office tower
The conventional office towers of La Défense are not well-adapted to the profound transformations of work patterns that the world is currently experiencing. Employees there are isolated from one another and can often only meet up at the foot of their tower. The Link addresses the new paradigm of work spaces, namely as places that foster cohesion, a sense of togetherness, and collective intelligence, all the while providing comfortable conditions to all their users. With The Link, PCA-STREAM revisits the model of the office tower and adapts it to these contemporary transformations. The project advocates fluidity of circulation and a diversity of places for social interaction, thereby fostering innovation and collaboration. It also counters the issues of verticality and isolation. Regular high-rises in La Défense are basically stacks of office floors with an average surface of 1,800 sqm, in which employees are isolated in small groups of 150 people. Access to the natural light is uneven, outdoor spaces are non-existent, and common spaces in which to work together are very limited. PCA-STREAM has imagined a highly specific morphology for this innovative tower, capitalizing on the size of the parcel by splitting it in two distinct wings that are interconnected by thirty platforms—the “Links.” These platforms emerge as the signature feature of The Link. They are more than eight meters wide and provide terraces and hanging gardens that boast spectacular views on each floor. The links are designed as spaces for collective work and as places for social interaction. Each link becomes a new “village square.”
Connecting the Links
The Links solve a weak point of traditional office towers: the lack of horizontality. By connecting the two buildings together, these platforms create 3,000 sqm office floors, a size unrivaled in all of La Défense. Even better: joined two to two by a wide and bright staircase, these spaces form duplexes with a surface area of 6,000 sqm that can be converted into either closed offices or coworking spaces. That is large enough to accommodate 500 people, the equivalent of a business unit or a large SME. The overall design will enable ninety percent of all trips taken in a typical workday in The Link to occur without having to resort to an elevator. The Link is in fact a pedestrian tower where all trips are streamlined and optimized, both for the sake of performance and for the well-being of the building’s users. The Link retains the essential benefit of the office tower—being able to gather all the staff of a large company in a single location—while providing the same working conditions as in a smaller-scale building in the center of the city.
A living tower
The Link is a living tower where the relationship to nature is ubiquitous. It features balconies and gardens for each floor, with outdoor spaces for fresh air, particularly on the green rooftop that is open to all employees. Its south orientation and its very specific morphology allow it to offer direct sunlight (less than six meters away from windows that open to the sky) to nearly one hundred percent of its workstations, which is a strong and growing expectation of employees, who benefit from a unique level of visual comfort and an unobstructed view of Paris. In addition, 25% of the energy needs for artificial lighting are produced by the solar façade, which is a way of addressing the issue of energy transition. The ambition is to achieve “Oustanding” BREEAM and HQE ratings, and an “Excellent” BiodiverCity rating. In addition, The Link offers superior common spaces and services on all its floors and no longer only in its base, thus maximizing access for all users. With a gastropub, sports facilities, a concierge service, sky lobbies with cafés, restaurants, and recreational areas, The Link is open to today’s seamless lifestyles.
|Program||A double-decked office tower comprising:
32 meeting platforms ("the links"), 2 sky-lobbies, an open rooftop, 10 cafes and restaurants, 3 auditoriums, sports halls and grounds, a care-center.
|Location||Cours Michelet, La Défense|
|Surface area||126 000 sqm|
|Certifications||HQE Exceptionnel; BREEAM Excellent; BiodiverCity|