(Photo by: Eric Sempé – SPIKSTUDIO)
The redevelopment of Paris’ Macdonald Warehouse has transformed an urban logistics building into a vibrant and contemporary neighbourhood, using bespoke glazing systems from Reynaers.
This project integrates into The Grand Urban Renewal Project; Paris’ wider efforts to provide more homes and inject life into neglected areas that are cut off by industrial facilities and infrastructural networks. An industrial barrier in itself, the ‘Macdo’ was designed in 1970 by Marcel Forest. The impressive structure spans over 600m in length, earning it the nickname ‘une tour couchée’, or ‘the horizontal skyscraper’.
Key factors in specifying a range of Reynaers products for lots N5 and S6 of the design were performance, costs and technical evaluation. The CF 77 system combines high insulation and comfort with visual appeal. It is a highly versatile product, with a range of available opening types and threshold solutions. The folding elements with hidden gaskets create a particularly clean appearance, proving to be both efficient and aesthetically pleasing for ceiling-high, foldable doors.
The clean, sharp design of Reynaers windows integrates perfectly with the rhythmically extruded façades. This pleated façade was designed by FAA and XDGA, which wraps around the entire ground floor, the bridge building across the tramline as well as the exterior spaces and two blocks of assisted rental housing.
Architect Milena Wysoczynska, Project Manager at Paris-based XDGA-FAA, said: “Seeking a simple yet strong solution, we developed a single pattern for both blocks, with three-dimensional panelling that reflected the sky and added depth to the façade.”
A key concept in the renewal project is desénclavement, or ‘opening up,’ making the area less isolated and more accessible.
Once considered ‘ugly and difficult,’ the Macdo was developed and built upon by fifteen French and international teams. Co-ordinator Floris Alkemade, the Netherlands’ Chief Government Architect, explained that their aims are to respect the building’s heritage and enhance it with contemporary elements.
Alkemade, along with Belgian architect Xaveer de Geyter, established design guidelines to strike balance between coherence and creative freedom amongst the different plots. The result is a tidy North façade which overlooks the boulevard, juxtaposed against the more colourful and spontaneous South façade which overlooks a new train station and gardens.
With the residential aspect divided neatly into private and social housing, aesthetic standards ensure that no visible distinction can be made. As one of the biggest “live, work, play, shop” venues in France, the Macdonald Warehouse will offer more than 1,000 homes, expansive space for offices, shops and communal activities as well as two schools, a gymnasium and a bank across an incredible 210,000m2 of floor space.
Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, a public sector financial institution, funded the €240 million development. Camille Picard, Managing Director of Paris Nord EST at the Caisse des Dépôts, said: “The scheme has a direct influence on the entire area; it enables everything that is happening in the neighbourhood. Without it, the construction of a new development zone across the street wouldn’t have started as they would struggle to sell flats and offices looking out on a warehouse.”
Lead architect: OMA, Paris
Local architects and project coordinators: XDGA + FAA (lots N5 and S6), Brussels
Contractor: Sicra, Chevilly-Larue
Investor: Caisse des Dépôts, Paris
Fabricator: Alu Concept, Chilly Mazarin
Reynaers system: CF 77