On the urban fringes of Bayonne, Technocity is an incubator destined to welcome innovative start-ups. This means creating a space for a variety of situations: a place that is able to evolve, that is minimalist and that is economical in terms of energy use. The result is a raw architectural expression which wants to be seen as a direct reflection of its function and of the construction work.
On a hillside, facing a river (Nive), the building superimposes in one volume the carpark (which could be transformed into office space), topped by the business spaces. The latter regroup, across three levels, workshops, which open directly onto the stone courtyard, conference spaces, and office spaces placed around a central atrium. The stairwell ranks the accessibility of these spaces by introducing a notion of progressive intimacy as you get higher: if the ground floor is, by virtue, the most open space, the offices of the highest floor remain in the businesses’ private domain. The functional efficiency of the plan therefore justifies the very simple spaces, whilst allowing the elevations’ dissymmetry. This dissymmetry is justified by the building’s orientation: closing to the north and opening to the south, where the façade is equipped with horizontal brise-soleil which protect from the sunlight whilst allowing views across the greenery and the River Nive below. From the radical nature of expression (structure and galvanised aluminium sheets dressing the façade), we can see the clarity of this plan which “piles up” different functions. From this, we get the impression of a building that is modular and adjusts to the forthcoming needs; a structure whose construction is rationalized thanks to the addition of spans and the industrial elements. Within this framework of a demanding public program (offices and workshops are delivered blank), the dimension of indeterminate functions and usages is integrated through short-lived installations at the heart of a permanent frame. Raw materials are used (concrete, wood, aluminium), perfectly assembled, putting efficiency above excess. High-tech ambition is again reflected by the building’s energy performances which are guaranteed by the south facing facade (curtain wall, brise-soleils, and walkways built into in the width of the building), by natural ventilation through the ground floor open doors and folding attic shutters, by exterior insulation, a geothermal heat pump system and the building’s compactness reducing heat loss.