Modern forms and classic colour contrast with Aluzinc®: the façade of Vendée Habitat Headquarters

The façade of the Vendée Habitat Headquarters comes to life thanks to the contrast of the silvery spangle of Aluzinc® coated steel and the dark Eternit panels. Built in the heart of one of  France's most green and touristic regions, the building is characterized by an architecture that combines modernism in its form and classicism in its colours. Parts of the façade and the sun screens are clad with panels made of ArcelorMittal's aesthetic and corrosion resistant Aluzinc® coated steel.

Detailed information

Colour contrast and durability with Aluzinc®

The use of Aluzinc® coated steel in combination with Eternit fibre cement panels fo the façade enhances the building' aesthetics thanks to its extraordinary light reflection. Like a fortress, the headquarters of Vendée Habitat stands out in the lush green surroundings, with the Aluzinc® façades sparkling in the sunlight.

The relation "space-material" is very strong and therefore sees this surprising combination of  Aluzinc® and Eternit, but surprising are also the angularities, worthy of the greatest scientific complex.

The east and west stairwells as well as the sunscreens are clad with Aluzinc® coated  steel. Beyond its aesthetics, this product offers durability and corrosion resistance over time. Aluzinc® is also used in the interior spaces, in order to create a certain continuity between the outside and the inside.

The three-dimensional strip on the front façade is made of dark Eternit panels, an insulations solution for exteriors fixed on masonry apron walls.  Between these elements, aluminum frames were assembled. The Eternit elements as well as the joinery elements are placed identically using a random rate of multiples of 60 cm.

Architectural project: urban planning...

The architects defined the structure of the project taking into account the situation of the site and the position of the various cardinal points.

The new building is built in east-west direction in order to provide offices facing north and south. The parking lots are in the south, between the new building and the railroad tracks. This has a positive effect on the building's overall aesthetics since the car park does not have a visual impact on its main façades. The ground floor is built into a natural slope and rests on a half buried basement. This basement connects with a service yard on garden level.

There are two accesses:
- a public pedestrian access to the upper part of the plot that offers parking spaces for visitors.
- The second, private access, located in the lower part of the slope with staff parking, additional parking of 20 spaces, the service yard connected to the archives, technical facilities and underground parking.


... and functional design

According to its functional program, the building is organized on 5 levels. The basement offers a car park, the archive is located on the ground floor and the 3 upper levels house offices.

The lobby on the ground floor forms a central atrium of 16,20m height, with the office floors arranged around it.

The inversion of the last level in relation to the 2 lower floors is the result of the cusps in the north and south facades. These cusps define a canopy towards the north magnifying the public entrance, the sun shades protecting the offices on the southern side and terraces towards the north and south on the management floors.
The facade is outlined following the movements of a three-dimensional, architectural strip, with the glazed work spaces are arranged between.

Each level is organized around the central core defined by the lobby and atrium. Superimposed on each floor around the atrium, there are public meeting and recreation spaces, sanitary installations and vertical circulation. On either side of the atrium, theses installations are arranged on 12 m wide floors.
In order to fulfull the client's wish of holding large receptions from time to time, a modular design for the ground floor was studied. Movable walls are used to define a reception area that can comfortably accommodate over 250 people.


Project Information

  • La Roche-sur-Yon
  • France
  • Architect:
    ABP Architectes - B. Pourrier
  • 2009
  • Client:
    Vendée Habitat
  • Engineering office:
  • Contractor:
    MSB - Société Inter-pliage
  • Photos:
    S. Chalmeau
  • Text:
    ABP Architectes (adapted)