French Biotope Project Promotes Wellness Through Green Space
30,000m2 workspace follows ‘Breathing Nature’ design concept with a sustainable structure maximizing access to fresh air, daylight and green spaces
On Monday September 24th, 2018, builders secured the cornerstone for our 30,000m2 Biotope building in Lille, France, marking a milestone in the project’s rapid 15-month construction.
Initially constructed as a potential new headquarters for the European Medicine Agency, the building’s structure provides the physical infrastructure for wellness. The name stems from the ancient Greek term for “place of life,” so named for the building’s thorough incorporation of green vegetation. Prioritizing maximum access to daylight, fresh air and green spaces is central to the building’s design concept of ‘breathing na-ture,’ where organic form encourages connection to nature.
“The site of this project is part of a ring of parks, forests and gardens around the city center, so our main focus was to make the building a continuation of this green belt,” said Clara Stewart, architect in our landscape department. “We worked with local ecol-ogists to ensure we had a good variety of native trees and plants throughout the build-ing, and we aimed to implement them in a way that helps local well-being. It’s very im-portant to have physical and visual contact with nature.”
With 60 percent of columns and 80 percent of load-bearing walls already in place on the ground floor, construction on the project site will continue through the winter. Be-tween a team of four hundred workers and four cranes, the Biotope is slated for com-pletion by December 2019.