iX Campus - Saint-Germain-en-Laye


iXcampus, technological research institution,
Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France

Competition winner 2022
Delivery: 2025
Project owners: iXcampus
Project management assistance: BAM
Lead architect: Baumschlager Eberle Architekten 
Architect: SAME
Landscape architect: Djao-Rakitine
Engineers: AIA Life Designers
Floor area: 13.100m²
Cost: -
Certifications | Labels: 
Démarche LBA,
Living Building Challenge

Renders: Alexandre Besson (outside renders) / Bureau 504 (inside renders)

The site benefits from a privileged location and a strategic position in the heart of the Saint-Germain-en-Laye state-owned forest, at the intersection of major rail and road infrastructure and enjoys a strong attachment to the city centre and its territory.

In this urban context, which mixes pavilion fabric and expanses of forests, a strong architectural and historical heritage marks by its presence the successive evolutions of this site with an industrial past such as the gaze of Hennemont (1797), the Château Saint-Léger (1886) rehabilitated by Dominique Perrault in 1991, the Château d'Hennemont (1907), or the building A of the site, co-designed by Jean Prouvé in 1952. 

The goal is to propose a project that integrates into the urban plan of the area while respecting the park identity and to compose this new campus drawing in the continuity of a design resulting from the dialogue of the various «object buildings» found there. This way of thinking the project is similar to Kandinsky’s paintings where the beauty of the objects is not enough, it is their interactions between them that create the emotion.

The East Pavilion
The higher education technological research institution is located at the eastern end of the site, a position that makes it significantly visibile and forms a close relationship to urban space. By distancing the building from the eastern boundary of the plot, a green and generous public square creates a smooth transition between the campus and the street and also indicates the entrance to the building. The building shape follows the morphology of the site by creating a simple volume: a flared parallelepiped with a concave curved roof. Its strained lines act as a link between the city and the park, between the campus and other university entities.
The massive stone carries the project to honor the various monuments of this materiality and to highlight the quarries bordering the commune of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. The facades are drawn with a regular rhythm of 2 meters, resulting from the actual dimensions of a block extracted from the quarries. Like a checkerboard, they alternate between the solid (stone block) and the void (wooden panel with a glass frame). The whole forms a kinetic facade that favors a writing of subtraction.

Extension of the Prouve and Coulon wings
The extensions lay on the roof terraces of wings A «Prouvé» and B «iX». They connect to the existing lower levels, by their structure and their vertical circulation. They are shaped in the continuity of the bodies of existing buildings, extending the geometry of stone pilasters. The extensions propose a light and delicate gesture to minimize the support on wings A and B. A system of mouldy posts and moulded beams in fine wood brings rhythm to the facades. It echoes both the existing and the new "E" building. The structure and the carpentry system are following a division rythm from the Prouvé and Coulon building, participating in the slenderness of the device. The use of the same type of pre-grayed wood throughout the whole project unifies the interventions and at the same time soothes the contrasting aspect of the existing facades.