Paris-based practice, Jakob+Macfarlane has won the C40 Reinventing Cities competition to develop a derelict site strategically located in the northern suburb of Paris, next to an upcoming station of Grand Paris Express.
Odyssee Pleyel is an adaptable prototype, referred to as the 'Energy Plug', to convert the 1960s decommissioned Electricité de France (EDF) headquarters into a mixed-use public building as a showcase of clean energy solutions.
The project is designed as a cluster of activities (culture, education, work, leisure) aimed to stimulate interest in new careers in green industries and an environment among the young population of this underprivileged suburb.
The ‘Energy Plug’ system is designed to plug into any environmentally-challenged 20th-century building and adapt to new changes while achieving zero carbon performance.
“We aimed to find a creative combination of simple architectural and technical solutions that ensure user comfort; minimise energy consumption and GHG emissions; facilitate operation and maintenance,” said Jakob+Macfarlane.
“We started by outlining how the project's energy needs could be limited through passive strategies, then responded to these needs with efficient systems that will use renewable and recovered energy.”
The design adds a prefabricated modular timber structure to the original 1930s building, combining high-quality architecture with improved environmental performance and community benefits.
To achieve zero carbon performance, the architects have created the world’s first ‘solar canopy’, which holds the solar panels for powering the structure and assisting in heat production, rainwater recovery and thermal protection.
The timber structure creates a self-shading form with large openings, creating transparency, inviting people as well as natural light inside the building. It also improves the ventilation inside the building, limiting heat loss and controlling solar gains.
To simulate ecological innovations, the design includes a vertical greenhouse integrated on the south façade to produce food on-site while improving the indoor air without additional air conditioning. The structure will also use excavated soil from the construction of the Grand Paris Express as an insulation material.
The Energy Plug was developed to respond to the C40 Reinventing Cities competition, which looks for innovative solutions for "challenging" city-owned sites, often abandoned industrial facilities.
Jakob+Macfarlane’s design aims to achieve synergy between the old and the new — a system they describe as “plugging into the old to give it a new lease of life”.
The architects hope that this project will help generate interest in new careers in green industries and environmental concerns among the young population of this underprivileged suburb.
The Energy Plug presents a prototype for adapting existing industrial infrastructure, increasing their lifespan. Adaptive reuse of existing building stock effectively cuts down the building industry’s carbon footprint, creating low-carbon solutions for sustainable urban development.
Jakob+Macfarlane is a multidisciplinary and multicultural architecture agency based in Paris, France.
Dominique Jakob is graduated from the Ecole d’Architecture Paris-Villemin (1991) after having received a degree in Art History from the Université de Paris I (1990). She has taught at the Paris-Villemin and Paris-Malaquais School of Architecture from 1994 to 2004, at the Special School of Architecture, and at the Los Angeles Southern California Institute of Architecture in 2018. She was named Woman Architect of the year 2019 by Arvha. She is a full member of the French Academy of Architecture since 2016. With Brendan MacFarlane, she founded the agency Jakob + MacFarlane in 1998. Brendan MacFarlane, born in New Zealand and graduated from the Southern California Institute of Architecture (Sci-Arc) in Los Angeles (1984), received his Master degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Architecture in Boston (1990). He has taught at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London, at the Architectural Association in London, at the Special School of Architecture in Paris and at the Southern California Institute of Architecture in Los Angeles (2006 and 2018) Graduate School of Design.