ULI France Young Leaders Get Inside Look at Prize-Winning Building

by Paola Urizar, Business Development Coordinator, STUDIOS Architecture

On 6th October, ULI France Young Leaders had the opportunity to visit a unique site called Îlot Fontenoy-Ségur, located in the 7th district of Paris. Originally built in the 1930s, the site comprises the Ségur building, which housed the former Ministry of Communications and the Fontenoy building, where the former Ministry of Merchant Navy were once tenants.

Horizons, the consortium created ex-professo for this project, won a competition in January 2014 for the refurbishment of both buildings (41 000 m²) and the construction of an extension (12 000 m²) to bind them. Sogelym-Dixence Holding, Braun & Partners Architects, CBC (Vinci) and Dalkia teamed up to develop the property and a 14-year maintenance contract.

Rather than selling the buildings to accomplish this complex renovation, the government entrusted the public real estate entity, SOVAFIM, with its ownership and the management of the revenues generated by the buildings for a period of 34 years. The government has committed to renting the buildings for a minimum of 12 years and will the recover the full property after the 34-year period.

After a detailed presentation of the project, Jean Charles Equoy, Executive Director at Sogelym Dixence, offered a guided tour that allowed nine Young Leader members of ULI France to visit some of the main areas of the construction site, including a 450-seat auditorium, the secured main entrance, and some of the office spaces. When complete, Îlot Fontenoy-Ségur will host 2,300 people. The tour also included an explanation of the bridging extension that links both buildings and was designed to allow a secure emergency exit route for the staff occupying these buildings. The shared restaurant (1,450 seats) also enjoys a terrace and is one of the many shared services (including a nursery and fitness facilities) contributing to rationalising the use of public buildings.

As this landmark building is partially listed, the developer team worked closely with local authorities to achieve a project that is aligned with the site’s history and enabled both the facades and interiors to be carefully renovated including the restoration of Jean Prouvé’s iron grids on some windows and maritime frescoes in some of the offices.

The renovation project has been divided into two parts, with the Fontenoy building now complete and in use since August 2016.  The Ségur building is still under construction and will be occupied in September 2017.

The project, which sits in front of the Parisian UNESCO building and next to Ecole Militaire, won a BIM award in 2015 and is aiming for a double environmental certification. The new tenants in the Ségur building will be the Prime Minister’s Office, and in the Fontenoy building will be several independent French Higher Authorities.