architecture: public buildings

Corsair headquarters

Rungis, France

Building type:
Corsair Headquarters and Catering Facilities
Surface: 7 500 m²
Project: 1995
Completed: 1998

Gerard Pierre & Stefan Dobrev Associated Architects

The new headquarters of the Corsair airline in Rungis are located in a service area near the Orly Airport. The entire project covers a surface area of 14,500 m² of construction to be built in two stages. The first stage has already been completed and covers a total area of 7,500 m², which houses all of the company's activities apart from its Technical Services Division.

The long and narrow site is parallel to the A6 highway exit, leading directly to Orly, where the busy road and air traffic cause heavy noise and pollution. Yet the warehouse complex for the Corsair Catering Services currently being built alongside the highway will soon provide an excellent sound barrier for the offices. This arrangement will also prevent office windows from overlooking the highway as well as it will facilitate the extension of the complex in the second stage of the project.

Despite the intended shielding effect, the building though was designed to be seen from the raised viewpoint of the vehicles on the highway and uses defining elements of the Corsair company logo. The frontal façade or roof of the catering building, for example, is meant to resemble a large wave. Similarly, one of the office buildings has a circular shape with a roof that spirals upwards and lights up at night. Hence the project symbolizes the aeronautical world using the architectural medium.

Given the offices’ location in a noisy, aggressive, and polluted landscape, the interior was designed to be as warm and welcoming as possible. The two four-story office buildings are arranged around two atria – one circular and the other rectangular, and form a peaceful interior arrangement, and also facilitate internal communication.

The entrance hall is a link between the two atria. Its double-height glass wall with no visible structure is in fact supported by tilted metallic posts on the outside of the building where the glass components are bolted onto exterior holding cables. The struts of the glass façades are also made up of supporting panels that significantly reduce the width of the vertical frames. The glass used for this project has the rare quality of reducing reflection while providing external protection against direct sunlight and noise.