Bièvre towers – When being fire-safe is beautiful

Sometimes renovation can result in a complete make-over for the building, proving that practical can be beautiful!

Watered by the Bièvre, a tributary of the Seine, the town of Antony is located 11 km outside the centre of Paris. When aging residential towers located on the hills needed refurbishment, it proved to be a chance to improve the look and general attractiveness of the area.

The challenge
Many architects face the challenge of creating buildings that ensure optimum fire safety – but that also meet their design dreams. There are many ways to comply with safety and building regulations, but what’s the best option when if you don’t want to compromise on design?

The photo to the left shows the Bièvre towers before their renovation, and the photo to the right shows how façade cladding upgraded their look as part of their renovation.

The solution
Irèna Morawiec, from Architecte Associée Groupe, Arcane Architectes, was tasked with designing the upgrade of the Bièvre towers. Located on the hills in the leafy Parisian suburb of Anthony, she was asked to dramatically improve the look of the building as part of the refurbishment. Their prominent location in the town meant that their look affected the appeal of the area.

Due to the fact that they are residential towers, the moment Morawiec saw their height and number of windows, she realised that fire safety would also play a large part in their renovation. After careful research, she discovered that innovative façade cladding and insulation could make big difference to both the safety and the appearance of the buildings.

“After we had done our research very thoroughly, we decided to choose a combination of stone wool insulation from ROCKWOOL and Rockpanel Woods and Colours for the façade cladding,” explains Irèna Morawiec.

“Rockpanel Woods look so much like real wood.
I find it absolutely astonishing.”

Irèna Morawiec, Architecte Associée Groupe, Arcane Architectes.

A basalt-based façade – that looks like wood!
In high-rise buildings, fire safety is the number one priority – and with a beauty-boost also on the agenda, Morawiec truly believed that the Rockpanel and ROCKWOOL combination was the perfect solution. The architect group presented two designs to their client, Hauts-de-Bièvre Habitat – the housing association who own the towers.

“The first option included a faded colour effect and the second one looked more like a chocolate fountain,” said explains Morawiec. “The second option was selected by the building owner and it works very well. Rockpanel Woods look so much like real wood. I find it absolutely astonishing.”

As the housing complex was very outdated, their improved new looks delighted the residents – as did the peace of mind knowing that the non-combustible stone wool insulation vastly improved their safety. The new eye-catching exterior of the towers also contributes to the general attractiveness of the neighbourhood as a whole.

In France, using fire resilient façade panels on high-rise buildings is relatively new, as traditional ‘bavettes’ are often used. The combination of light-weight panels that are fire resilient and available in many attractive designs is what made Rockpanel stand out in this case. And although it was the first time for the architect group to use this solution, it certainly won’t be the last.

Primary contact
Connie Enghus

Case location

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