Headquarters of the Caisse des Français de l'Étranger

Rubelles (77)

Bio-climatic construction

Headquarters of the Caisse des Français de l'Étranger

Rubelles (77)

The building is positioned in a contemporary suburban environment characteristic of the contours of our cities: diffuse and not very legible. However, the place is well inhabited and the urban stake is important.
The elements of the program are shaped with equal attention: an office building and an open-air parking lot, forming a functional whole welded to the existing. Yet here, without being monotonous, the architecture reveals itself to be unitary by its abstract, massive and legible regularity. The surface parking lot, continuous and raw, is designed with the same frankness. Planted with wisdom and precision, 100 trees provide an unexpected landscape in the manner of an urban clearing.
The interior spaces merge urban space and architecture. At the heart of the building, an atrium designed on all its dimensions punctuates and federates the internal organization. 
Two types of spaces are dedicated to the two temporalities of use: those intended for work, intimate and comfortable, and those conducive to meeting and strolling. However, there is no clear boundary between them in order to achieve the fluidity so sought after in the new ways of working. The transparencies between the interior and the exterior, particularly those in front of the "third places", offer a skilful dialogue between the tertiary activity and the urban environment. A new urbanity is sown by a resolutely "in-situ" architecture.
The CFE headquarters is a bioclimatic construction. The building has a tailor-made facade of unique design. The prefabricated breathable envelope is made of two opening glass skins in wood on the inside and aluminum on the outside. Connected to sensors, it is managed by an automated opening/closing and shading system. The facade coupled with the atrium allows natural ventilation in summer, spring and fall. Heating and cooling are provided by low-temperature underfloor heating systems fed by geothermal energy at a depth of 70 meters. The whole is coupled to a heat pump. The construction is of the passive type.


Offices and landscaping

Type of mission
Complete (Design + Execution)

Project owner
Caisse des Français de l'Étranger

Project management
Éric Bartolo BVAU-Bartolo Villemard Architecture Urbanisme associate (lead architect)

3A Architectes Associés
TN + (landscape architect)
RFR élément (structure)
Avel (acoustics)
Clément Guillaume (photographer)

Saint-Nicolas Activity Center
160 rue des Meuniers 77 950 Rubelles

Surface area
3,900 m² SDP

Cost of construction work
9 300 000€ HT 

Low-energy building (BBC)
Energy performance
Primary energy consumption < 50 KWH/m²/year
Prefabricated double-skin "breathable" wood/aluminium facade. Made to measure with BLUNTZER. External over-insulation RT2010 compliant
Double flow ventilation with air heat pump
Geothermal energy
Water management

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