Amplasament / Location: Clichy-Montfermeil, Franţa / Clichy-Montfermeil, France Nume proiect / Project name: Comisariatul pentru Securitate Publică / Police Department for Public Safety Finalizare / Completion: 2011 Suprafaţă / Area: 3000 mp / sqm Client / Client: Préfecture de Police de Paris Text / Text: Pascale Blin
A Protective Enclosure
Strongly marked by the urbanization from the sixties with long, high buildings and by the painful events which are being presented with regularity by the media, the neighborhood of the plateau which is stretching at the periphery shared by the Chichy-sous-Bois and Montfermeil benefits today of a large urban renewal project. It quits step by step, after the demolitions of a certain number of blade like buildings of the Zerhfuss situation plan, its image of shabby territory in order to recover a part of its noblesse. The street network enhances, underlined by landscape developments. The reserved bus lane appears. A new fabric structures itself, here a school, small dwelling operations… and, with this, designed at the city’s fore (…) a new police station – main piece of a new urban stage.
A police station in the city – guarantor of civility
A stage front – at the pedestrian scale
In front of the restricted lane bus station, unrolls a long wall of Indaten steel, a background, equivalent to a height of almost two levels. A background at the scale of the pedestrian, but still raised by two set back upper levels and leaving a metal lamellar skin – always from Indaten steel. Vertical undulated blades, while protecting from indiscreet views, creating rhythm on the façade, bestow it a «kinetic» value.
A «constructed» void – at the scale of the city
In front of the Libertés Crossing a void takes place. A constructed void perfectly structured and delimitated by a play of surfaces. One from glass indentifies the police entrance. The other from punctured Indaten steel – worked under the 1% act – ensures a separation between the public parking and the square. At the intersection of the two, a red box appears – from varnished aluminum – indentifying, apart from its function as vertical circulation, the emblematic one of urban signal.
A sculptural surface – at the scale of Bois du Temple
In front of the Bois du Temple neighbourhood it is a surface which is rising – as an art object at the city scale. A planted slope absorbes the terrain’s limites and constitues a base. It rises, at about 2 m height, a thick shell – again from Indaten steel – wich is pierced at 7 or 8 m height in order to become light and evanescent. The inclination of this surfarce, the subtle show of lights produced by its own perforation, eliminates all possible comparation with an enclosure wall or with any other imprisonment enclosure – elements which, today in this urban context still «sensible», would have the value of a provocation.
Meanwhile, this is still a protective enclosure, but softened by its sculptural characteristics, and perceived (since its installation) by the population as a contemporary piece, interpreting at choice the traces of an archeological site or a sleeping lizard…
An enclosure which, while effectively protecting the police station and more specifically its center of operations and services of invasive glances (over its activities), of a much too ardent sun or of any other aggression (…), imposes itself as a privileged witness of a new urbanity.
A fifth respectful façade
The police station is offering its roof to the inhabitants of the towers and bars of Bois du Temple. Out of respect for them, and in order to announce the qualitative characteristics of this urbanity in the making, the fifth facade was particularly treated with care. Three broken lines seem to succeed those drawn by the evanescent veil of the inclined surface. Three linear roofs with gentle slopes in the same direction (coming down from north to south) allow on one hand to hide the technical equipment in the attic space and on the other hand to unveil, on the North side, the vertical strips of the windows that allow for conveying the natural light in the heart of the building.
An opened police station – guarantor of a certain functional transparency
A dialogue inside / outside
The police station belongs to the city. During the day it identifies as public equipment, during the night, due to the perforations of the steel sheet, it offers a continuous and diffuse light, a light sparkling all over the city. A reassuring nocturne landmark which day and night breaths and witness its presence.
While being reassuring, it is, in all circumstances, ready to welcome. It invites the public to enter in its glass hall (triple in height), where the notion of welcoming becomes a reality of usage, where the equipment performance is delivered with all «transparency». From there the public is oriented to the service that corresponds to his requirements.
The path is always optimized, calculated to be the shortest and for as long as possible in direct relation with the exterior. Even if the users must take it on the stairs, their views can still escape through the glazing alveolus opened towards the city.
In this way the interior and the exterior engage in a dialog in order to increase the explored effect of openness…
Anyway, this openness only signifies that the operation of the spaces imposes exclusively welcoming and reassuring. From the street, the entering and the exit of the vans associated with the siren sounds confess the repressive activity of the spaces. From the hall, the arrivals and the departures of the policemen along the opened mezzanine (but inaccessible to the public) testify the inner bustle. Also from the hall, if the depth of the building – and its animation – allows itself to be perceived along a glazing surface, it equally shows the accessibility remains under control.
Translation from French: Dana Milea, Mihai Zachi