After several months of work, RICE teams moved to their new headquarters in Villeneuve-la-Garenne (close to Paris) in July 2019.
Called Sibelius, this resolutely modern site combines offices and collaborative workspaces, laboratories and test benches. A wonderful tool to support the fast growth of this structure and perpetuate the fine history of GRTgaz’s research and innovation center.
Historically located in the Plaine Saulnier district of Saint-Denis (Seine-Saint-Denis), RICE’s aim was to provide itself with a new modern head office with state-of-the-art facilities, resolutely looking to the future.
This decision was also speeded up by the upcoming requisition of the historic site for reasons themselves historic… Indeed, in the place of the ENGIE Campus, the hub of the gas industry facing the Stade de France, the future Aquatic Centre of the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris will soon rise up. These facilities will include a competition pool, two training pools, a diving pool, a water polo pool and a footbridge, spanning the A1 motorway and leading to the large stadium, now Olympic.
A blessing in disguise… Since its inception in January 2018, RICE has wanted to offer its experts modern installations, symbolic of its positioning, and allowing greater osmosis between its different working hubs.
Built to measure, Sibeli was an architectural challenge because of the constraints imposed by the cohabitation of different spaces with radically different vocations. Indeed, the same building and its external annexes include 2000 m2 of offices, 2000 m2 of laboratories and 2000 m2 of workshops, with even a crane that comes out and enters inside the building to handle the pipes tested in the Hall of Mechanical Tests.
Housing a research centre like RICE requires a very specific building, scrupulously meeting the requirements of its various functions and meeting many constraints, regulatory, urban planning, scientific, security of course, and finally accreditation. The specifications attached great importance to the fact that the employees who had to work there felt good about it.
The exterior evokes the interior: “Here we find white, very smooth cladding materials, which are a reminder of laboratory functions, sorbonnes, doormats that are themselves white, very smooth,” explains Jean-Luc Wichowaniek, architect of the Sibélius project. In addition to white, there is green, evoking the very vegetal environment of the nearby Chanteraines park, with the desire to have green patios and a roof terrace.
A design office has been commissioned to take over the decoration and layout of the spaces. The result is a welcoming, bright and open building, with a central patio and a Village Square, the heart of collective life with a connected kitchen.
Since July 2019, RICE has been working out of a new headquarters meeting HSE standards, with remarkable heat insulation, a rainwater recovery system, intelligent waste and fluid management, and a green roof.
There is no doubt that the Sibelius building will promote the emergence of new methods of collaboration and emulation between the different components of the research center. These are all guarantees of success in the service of gas excellence.