Embedded Systems Integration Campus: Indaten® facade imitates surrounding woods

The Embedded Systems Integration Campus, located in the French town of Saint Etienne du Rouvray, is the mecca of operational research in the automobile sector. The new building resembles the body of a car, and its facade is made of Indaten® weathering steel supplied by ArcelorMittal that contributes to its integration into its wooded environment.

Detailed information

With the opening of the Embedded Systems Integration Campus in 2012, the Graduate School of Engineering ESIGELEC and its Research Institute IRSEEM (Research Institute for On-board Electronic Systems) now have a common space for technological research and innovation transfer after five years of successful collaborative works. Its activities cover several application fields in automotive and aeronautic research among them navigation systems, efficient clean vehicles, electric aircraft of the future, robots fleets, ambient intelligence, personal assistance, reliability, electro-mobility, and energy systems.

Synergy with surroundings

The building's architectural design is inspired by its function - the world of the automobile. In abstraction, its elongated structure resembles the body of a car. Located between the ESIGELEC and the IRSEEM buildings like a hyphen, the new construction is visible, but at the same time intends to be 'hidden' by its integration into the wooded environment. The horizontal structure contrasts with the verticality of the row of high pine trees in front of it, and the brownish colour of its weathering steel facade imitates the colours of the wood while offering the resistance and protection of steel.

Weathering steel for the facade

The campus building's north facade, the area for the laboratories, is made of weathering steel. This type of steel offers a high resistance to corrosion thanks to the protective layer that is formed on its surface. Aesthetically, the steel with its brownish colour reflects the wooded surroundings and blends with the landscape. The facade consists of a combination of solid and perforated elements that provide protection from the sun. The Indaten® weathering steel was supplied in Coque MD panels, an aesthetic cladding product from ArcelorMittal Construction's product range developed especially for use with weathering steel.

The campus and its functions

With a usable floor area of 5000 m², the building is divided into three areas according to its activities: research, transfer & innovation, and business animation. It therefore comprises a laboratory, several platforms dedicated to innovation, and an advanced research workshop.

The architectural design, developed by Christophe Bidaud Architects, ensures the synthesis between a highly technological world and a particularly strong natural environment. The building expresses the ambition for innovation and the installation's openness towards the outside world while maintaining sobriety and a certain confidentiality in the design. The aim was to offer an architectural and functional space for the pursuit of applied research in the areas of automotive and aeronautics and to find the best possible combination of functionality and quality of space in order to guarantee competitiveness in the long term.

The structure of the part of the building that houses the laboratories is made of steel beams and columns, whereas the office spaces, meeting rooms, and the lobby have a reinforced concrete structure.

Project information

  • Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray
  • France
  • 2012
  • Architect:
    Christophe Bidaud Architecte (CBA)
  • Client:
    Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Rouen
  • Photos:
    © ArcelorMittal Construction