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Wilmotte & Associates : Station F

Rehabilitated by the French architecture agency Wilmotte & Associates, Halle Freyssinet, formerly a Parisian railway depot (13e) dating back to the 1920 years, becomes Station F, the world's largest campus dedicated to the development of startups. The space of 34 000 square meters is intended to host more 1 000 companies in the making.

For this ambitious program, Jean-Michel Wilmotte, the project's chief architect, was keen to preserve the original load-bearing structure of pre-stressed reinforced concrete. The 310 long meters of the incubator consist of three parallel naves, whose thickness of the vaults can go down to less than 5 millimeters at the ridge. Always with a view to safeguarding the architectural finesse of the old hall, the designer draws on the side facades of the hangings suspended overhang, thus making it possible to dispense with posts.

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The three spaces - of which the two smaller ones are organized on either side of the main area - are independent and each has its own functions. The first, Share, Is a place of sharing and meeting, and a forum including: a Fab Lab - prototyping workshop with 3D printers in open access -, an auditorium of more than 350 places, and multiple meeting rooms to welcome Investors and partners of new entrepreneurs.

When you go to the heart of the campus, you find yourself in your nerve center: Create, A zone regrouping the numerous startups. If the central nave is clear, allowing each of the employees to move freely, the lateral sections, which are free to lay out, host 24 "villages" housing the various companies.

Finally, the young workers will be able to relax in the last part of Station F, which will only be operational at the end of the year: Shill. The volume will house an open restaurant 24 / 24h as well as a terrace facing south. An extension of 100 public housing is also planned in 2018 and will be able to host 600 entrepreneurs at affordable prices.

Like the startups that it welcomes, Station F is innovative and sees the big picture as it prepares to put a lot of talents on the road to success.

To learn more, visit The Wilmotte & Associates website

Photographs: Patrick Tourneboeuf

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