Volumes résiduels de la Défense
Located under the esplanade of the most famous business district in Paris, the underground slab of La Défense has been designed to separate the functions for the users from technical or logistical purposes. KAAN Architecten proposal highlights the inherent beauty of these residual volumes, activating various flexible spaces and making them accessible after being unused for years.
The project articulates different public squares, while the main access is located in Place de la Statue, allowing visitors to enter the central volume of the ‘Cathédrale’ through a wide staircase and a garden, creating a green oasis in the heart of the district. Meanwhile, La Voie des Sculpteurs constitutes the backbone of the project, creating a real seam between the surface and the underside of the Esplanade de La Défense. To diminish the infrastructural character of this space, natural light is brought in by piercing the slab of the Esplanade, coherently to the functions located on the surface, and further establishing direct connections between the levels. The stratification between old and new is evident through the use of tinted concrete, as the project weaves a red thread, both symbolic and material, between the different volumes and accesses.