Galilée by Studio Bellecour Architects

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Galilee by Studio Bellecour Architects

French architects Studio Bellecour have completed a pair of office buildings near Toulouse, France, wrapped in aluminum fins and connected by a twisting concrete element.

Galilee by Studio Bellecour Architects

The horizontal fins curve around all sides of both offices to prevent overheating in the summer and reflect light back into rooms during the winter.

Galilee by Studio Bellecour Architects

Above photograph is by Christophe Picci

Between the two volumes sits a half-raised courtyard with landscaped gardens and an underground car-park beneath.

Galilee by Studio Bellecour Architects

A steel-frame pod rendered in concrete and used for storing bikes slightly overhangs the edge of the raised courtyard.

Galilee by Studio Bellecour Architects

All other photographs are by Nicolas Borel unless stated otherwise.

Galilee by Studio Bellecour Architects

Here's some more from the architects:


The project

Galilée is one of the debut projects realized in the UDZ (Urban De- velopment Zone) Andromède, in Blagnac, near Toulouse in France.

Galilee by Studio Bellecour Architects

The particular urban details of this UDZ in Blagnac provided a unique climate for the development of a quality architectural project. The aesthetic of Galilée results from a combination of an interpretation of these urban rules, the immediate aeronautical context, and from the environmental requirements given in the specifications of the UDZ.

Galilee by Studio Bellecour Architects

The plan is centered on two distinct buildings which are connected by a long white concrete veil. The veil, the primary visual feature of the overall plan, blends vertical and horizontal motions as it slowly curves in a helical movement.

Galilee by Studio Bellecour Architects

This veil achieves the double feature of insuring the continuity between each building while allowing one to discover the rear landscape in all its depth.  Thus this long concrete helix, which recalls the aeronautical context of the site, both protects the building by marking the front of the street as well as welcomes us by its inviting view.

Galilee by Studio Bellecour Architects

Above photograph is by Quentin Jeandel

Two covered buildings wrapped in special insulating material and canopies, modulated according to the illumination, confer on the operation the environmental characteristics HEQ.

Galilee by Studio Bellecour Architects

Above photograph is by Quentin Jeandel

A unique formal style distinguishes and individual sizes of these buildings. Nevertheless, the coherence and balance of the whole is maintained by the homo- genous treatment of the façades.

Galilee by Studio Bellecour Architects

Above photograph is by Quentin Jeandel

The difference of shape and the resemblance of materials make fraternal twins out of these two buildings, which works to maintain options for future users of the space.

Galilee by Studio Bellecour Architects

Above photograph is by Studio Bellecour

That is, the distinctions between the buildings would allow multiple tenants to maintain an air of individuality while at the same time the continuous architectural themes provide an appropriate environment for one single occupant.

Galilee by Studio Bellecour Architects

Above photograph is by Studio Bellecour

A central square constitutes the central space, the place of privileged pedestrian access towards both halls. The square is slightly heightened to allow for a level of half-buried parking lots organized around a central garden with natural air circulation. A large white concrete form looking like a shingle offers space for bikes within the landscape.

Galilee by Studio Bellecour Architects

Location: UDZ Andromède, Blagnac - TOULOUSE, France
Client: Altarea COGEDIM
Owner: Crédit Suisse
Project management Project manager: STUDIO BELLECOUR, SAS d’architecture
Architect: Wilfrid Bellecour
Team: Vincent Ballion, Julien Franco, Brice Kester, Damien Lamy, Sinda Tobni
Execution project management: BEFS Inspection office SOCOTEC Inspection office SPS SOCOTEC OPC CARI

Galilee by Studio Bellecour Architects

Above photograph is by Christophe Picci

Building materials and specifications: concrete, aluminium sun shades, exterior insulation, green roofs, basalt stone forecourt, green trellis over car park
Building permit: november 2007
Surface area: 11 102 sq.m.
Estimated Cost: M€ 20
Construction work: April 2008
Delivery: 2010


See also:

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  • http://archialternative.com/ Albert

    Dramatic and creative indeed.
    Just a practical concern: how exactly those fins (which are really impressive arch. element) are cleaned? What kind of technology is used? If any?
    They would need some cleaning once in a while?

  • edward

    An air cooled building? Handsome yes, but I have my doubts. Also the view through those fins might be annoying.

  • imneverbored

    the view through the "fins" shouldn't be an issue. it's been tested quite a few times
    in architecture by another name, a louver.

    the view through the main formal element probably makes up for it anyway.

    however, i am skeptical on the separate buildings maintaining their individuality for potentially multiple future occupants. This is definitely a headquarters for a single company.

    • http://archialternative.com/ Albert

      A louver is usually small application on each window opening which operates easy and independently (by hand or by small motor in office buildings as an example). So it is not exactly the case here. The remark about the view is correct. Obviously the building was designed from outside, i.e. importance of exterior look was a deliberate priority for architects. It's their choice.
      Why little practical concerns enrage people so much? Yes, it is a sleek project but "form follows function follows form" dispute is always relevant.

  • rach

    beautiful!! sensual.. i too share the cleaning and maintenance concerns and not sure bout spaces within.. but a refreshin form for sure..

  • Abhi

    looks beautiful.I'm a bit worried about the views as well

  • http://francoisbeydoun.blogspot.com French1st

    Very nice work. I’m not worried about cleaning, with all the technology that we have, everything is possible! Concerning the view we can in this case ask the same question for the facade of architect Jean Nouvel and its construction of the “Arab World Institute” in Paris, mainly when the moucharabieh start to close because of the sun light.

  • imneverbored

    why is everyone getting caught up on these louvers. it's a standard
    architectural shading device.

    has anyone ever seen a richard meier building?

    i feel no one here has read the entire article.

    • edward

      The Meier building with louvers I have seen have a large gap in them to allow unobstructed line of sight. This building doesn't do that obviously and I would find it irritating. Sorry.

      • imneverbored

        no need to apologize. i just don't think it would be a problem.
        of course this discussion can never be fully concluded without
        a picture form the interior.

        the arab world institute was a great reference btw. even
        if the view is obstructed from the interior.

    • http://archialternative.com/ Albert

      It is not because people don't read the article. It is because those "fins" being most stylish & prominent architectural element of the building raise certain functional concerns. And we simply discuss it with professional curiosity rather than with negative approach.

  • Bob

    Yes , louvers/screens and all-white buildings are architectural trends which might look great for sculptural purposes, but in practical world they are not very good. Both cause disorientation and discomfort

    I like these buildings though

  • ogami

    Enough about the louvers, what about that concrete 'veil' – surely a redundant architectural gesture on a grand scale?

  • Abdulrahman

    This building looks attractive. The Louvers are not a problem unless it has a view over the ocean or the grand canyon which it doesn't. I don't think the louvers need cleaning. Well maybe once a year.

  • edward

    Besides the symbolism is all wrong as air liners have used air cooled radial engines in ages.

    • edward

      Oops, should have been haven't used air cooled engines.

  • floyd landis

    Nice, really relates to human scale and context………not!

  • Ehsan

    nice view for the surroundings!!