Head of architecture Steven Beckers is well aware of new thinking about the workplace. But he has not been able to shake the continental bureaucrat's devotion to the cellular office. The wings remain serried ranks of outward- facing rooms for one or two to three people. The longest wing is 70m. If someone is promoted, their space allocation can rise with a cascading effect of partition-moving. Partitions are planned to be extremely demountable; cabling is in the door sets. Around the fixed spines the planning options are few, but various open office or combi office arrangements are conceivable.
At the core, the designers have provided a lobby with a lift stop at every floor. Lobbies have been shaped and opened to the outdoors to provide better orientation. There are also some new shared spaces.
At ground level there is a difficult balance to be struck between accessibility and security, mainly controlling crowds of protesters. The planned landscaping, repositioning of the entrance and the continuous band of glazing at ground level at least look more user-friendly.
Escalator connections up from a train line and underground are intended to encourage use of public transport by the building's expected 2700 occupants and 700 daily visitors. So are the new rer station being built on the site, the basement cycle storage, removal of surface parking and reduction of underground parking spaces from 1632 to 1223.