The new EDF Campus was inaugurated in 2017 in the Plateau de Saclay business cluster, near the well-known campuses of École Polytechnique and HEC. Built by the architecture firm Emmanuel Combarel Dominique Marrec Architects (ecdm), the building is distinguished by the remarkable volumes of its audacious façades. This technical feat was made possible by the innovative use of Ductal® Envelope combined with Ductal® Spray technology.
Ecdm chose to focus on the material’s intrinsic finesse, precision, plasticity and watertight properties of Ductal® for the EDF building in Plateau de Saclay, in addition to taking advantage of the material’s flexibility, contraction and traction capacities.The specific advantages of Ductal® Spray give architects greater freedom to design innovative buildings. Using this material, the EDF Campus has been conceived as a compact urban neighborhood, and is a true architectural feat.
Unlike the traditional American campuses designed as parks punctuated by blocks of buildings, EDF wanted to build a single, multipurpose building, open 24/7 and comprising training centers, reception and meeting areas, living and relaxation spaces and, of course, dorm rooms. With this in mind, the architects at ecdm imagined an ambitious project.Using a contemporary approach that took into account the stakes tied to land use, ECDM turned the concept of an inhabited urban campus on its head. The agency organized the campus around a central courtyard, with glass viewing points throughout the 360° shaped campus that showcased the surroundings. In this way, the campus integrates and highlights the landscape.
The building concept uses distinct levels. “Everything is organized to create a campus that is easily understandable and navigable for people who need to quickly find their way around,” the architects say. For this reason, the hall, exhibition space and training areas are located on the three lower levels, while the private living quarters are located on the two upper levels, with dining spaces and areas for socializing or relaxation placed in between.
The division of the façade into three distinct layers of Ductal® and glass give the building a unique visual identity .From the ground level to the third floor, prefabricated shells of sprayed, dark-brown tinted Ductal® highlight the structure of the building. These large shells offer a seamless visual appearance along the bottom layer, while optimizing use of material. A bicomponent stain in a 75% transparent brown hue reveals the extreme finesse of the UHPC mesh.In the living quarters, large prefabricated shells of Ductal® Spray encompass each of the 270 rooms in pairs, covering the blinds and exterior joints. A 25%-transparent gray stain caps off the crown of the concrete.