The „Digiteo Labs“ consist of three buildings devoted to the research of information and digitalisation technologies; simulation and automation processes; and finally materials sciences. The buildings - located at three different sites south-west from Paris: Saclay, Moulon and Palaiseau - are designed to accommodate laboratories, workshops, offices, and conference rooms. Each of the facilities is used by a variety of research institutions. The workshops, which occupy around 40% (ca. 8,000 m²) of the usable floor area, are equipped for materials research, metals processing, computer simulation, and research in electronics. The workshops extend in part over two floors to accommodate the delivery of large items.
The three Digiteo buildings are quite similar in their features. Each has a large central atrium that runs, in some places, all the way through to the exterior façade. In this manner, the atriums can thereby provide visual connections to the outside and simultaneously allowing daylight into the interior. The atrium is also part of the buildings’ ventilation concept founded on natural ventilation.
All communal spaces in each building are grouped around the central atrium. These include not only shared functional spaces, such as seminar rooms, computer pools, the library, and teaching workshops, etc., but also the open stairways, footbridges, and cafeteria, as well as the various multi-functional zones, referred to as “terraces”. These shared spaces are designed to foster interdisciplinary work and casual communication among the scientists who use the building.
Despite their inherent similarities, the buildings also respond to their particular sites and respective users. In addition, all three are designed to be highly flexible and easily adapted to the user’s changing occupational patterns.
From the outset of the project, the client clearly manifested their desire to create a series of new buildings that would be highly efficient and ecologically responsible. In this regard, there are many measures in place in each building to ensure a healthy and pleasant working environment, in a very sustainable fashion. The workspaces are ventilated naturally instead of mechanically; in addition, cold air is flushed at night; heat is recovered from the air exhaust; and only materials deemed safe by the French HQE (Haute Qualité Environnementale) regulations were specified throughout. In addition, vertical ‘green gardens’ in the atria provide sound absorption; optimise the degree of air moisture; and create a pleasant, relaxing ambiance for people in the interior.