Stream Building

A universal building for unique uses

The Stream Building is among the winning projects of the 2015 City of Paris call for innovative urban projects, “Reinventing Paris.” It is a manifesto of PCA-STREAM’s research-action method and was collaboratively designed by the thinkers of the STREAM Review and the future operators of the building. The 24/7 platform adapts to our new seamless and connected lifestyles.

A metropolitan challenge: participating in the invention of the Greater Paris of the 21st century

The Clichy-Batignolles district, which is being developed on fifty-four hectares of railway brownfield in the 17th arrondissement, in the north of Paris, is the capital’s only development to have been fully realized in the twenty-first century to date. Informed by environmental challenges, it is the product of a co-design process involving many public and private stakeholders—developers, investors, designers, and community groups. Clichy-Batignolles is remarkably located at the nexus between several Parisian districts in the vibrant north-west quarter of the metropolis, which will soon see its accessibility by mass transit significantly improved. The tower of the Tribunal de Grande Instance, which was designed by Renzo Piano, forms the beacon of a new centrality at the border between Paris and Clichy. The Tribunal and its concourse define a new space that will be bordered by a 16,000 sqm building designed for the 2015 City of Paris call for innovative urban projects, “Reinventing Paris.” Forty-five international teams took part in the competition and four teams were shortlisted. PCA-STREAM was awarded the project in February 2016. It is now in planning phase and is set to be completed by the end of 2021.

An original context: “Reinventing Paris”

To fill the gap between the daily construction of the city and the speed of the urban and social changes of today, the City of Paris launched an unprecedented challenge to architects from the world over: to reinvent twenty-three Parisian sites and make them models of the city of the future out of them in terms of architecture, new uses, environmental innovation, and co-construction. The “Reinventing Paris” call for innovative urban projects sought to transfer public property to urban development specialists and usher in a new way of interacting with the municipality. It invites them to design the Paris “of tomorrow” by stating the key innovation challenges to be met and by inviting applicants to engage in inventive and unconventional consortiums to address them. A sign of success for the operation, 372 applications were formally filed, which will lead to 22 manifesto projects.

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A novel method of collaborative design

The way this call for projects was framed favored innovation in the project processes as well as in the programming. The consortium composed by PCA-STREAM, Covivio (the investor), and Hines (the co-investor and developer) was based on a dynamic that aimed to reverse the traditional roles of contractors and contracting authorities. PCA-STREAM put forth the programmatic concept with its economic model and its operating partners. The contracting authority analyzed the concept, refined it, and validated it. The Stream Building is the result of a long and complex co-design process that was fully engaged in collective intelligence, bringing together a team of partners and start-ups: Topager and Zoku. Part of the project remains open to co-programming with the neighborhood and its inhabitants.

A vision based on the application of Stream’s research

The vision of the project is based on the application of several years of research on the new working spaces of tomorrow (Stream 02 “After Office”). In that sense, the Stream Building follows the logic of PCA-STREAM’s project, which was delivered at the end of 2015. It also incorporates the ideas from Stream 03 “Inhabiting the Anthropocene”, including topics such as the building viewed as a form of metabolism. Technological change, new uses, and a renewed vision of the relation between the city and nature are key characteristics of this manifesto project.

Privately-held premises of public interest

In this new district at the foot of the future judicial precinct, the absence of focal points of urban life is striking. The Stream building was imagined as a relational hub, that is, a home for us all. It truly a one-stop resource for everything that makes dense urban life so rich. Functional boundaries are shattered, which creates an unprecedented co-existence between different forms of work, accommodation, catering, and cultural activities. This is a place that attracts people from the neighborhood and all over the Greater Paris throughout the day, to eat, work, sleep, or meet up.  The exceptional mixed-use program (25% services that are open to the public, 25% housing, 50% work spaces) transcends the typical reflexes of investors, who are attached to single-use assets. The design bets on the shift in demand toward more diverse and desirable programs.

An on-demand community space

The Stream Building attends to our new work patterns. Digital technology has completely transformed they way we work, causing us to become nomads and blurring work-life boundaries. We work from a coffee shop, from our living room, from home, or while on the road. We work while surfing the web, sharing with others, and even while dreaming. An entire generation of mobile and ultra-connected workers is emerging that favors collaborative organizations and sharing; it is on the look-out for new “third places” that are mixed, hybrid and unspecialized at the same time. The design of office buildings is thus faced with a profound paradigm change that is challenging the conventional business model of the real estate industry. The offer of long-term leases of plain vanilla open-plan offices in cold, unfriendly buildings no longer fits the expectations of this new generation of agile firms. The office is no longer a simple work place but in fact a place of multiple resources. Thanks to its multifunctional, open, and connected hospitality platform that is equipped with “on-demand spaces,” the Stream Building fits into this new urban ecosystem. It creates its own centrality by operating as a catalyst; a life hub that is full of activities, encounters, socializing, and serendipity. The spaces are leased out by a single operator, which is in charge of enlivening them and operating them, thus gradually shifting offices toward a hospitality model. This trend is further confirmed by the tremendous success of the “We Work” model that emerged in the United States in the early 2010s.

A nourishing and socially-cohesive ecosystem

In this Anthropocene era, the operating model of architecture is no longer to be found in machines but in biology and in the study of living organisms. The Stream Building acts like a metabolism and is fully engaged in that kinetics: it is a living organism that metabolizes waste and transforms it into a resource. It features an experimental “open loop” operation in the food cycle. The produce is sold, processed, and consumed on the spot. Food waste from agri-food production and the restaurants are fed into a shared compost unit, which will, in turn, provide natural fertilizer for the next batch of crops. This is what is called a “cradle-to-cradle” approach: the outputs of a given cycle are not viewed as waste but as inputs in the following cycle. The Stream Building incorporates urban agriculture as a vector for circular and solidarity-based economy. A 1,200 sqm vegetable garden designed by Topager is deployed on the roof. The market garden was specifically designed to ensure a profitable and stable production throughout the seasons. The cultivated greens, herbs, and flowers are retailed right within the shopping facilities in the complex and used in the dishes of the various restaurants established there. Hops are grown on the southern façade, which provides some thermal protection during the summer and is used to brew hyperlocal craft beer. Agricultural production and processing will be performed by the non-profit Espaces, which will manage a co-operative including all the stakeholders involved in the project. This co-op will offer jobs to residents who are excluded from the workforce and thus bring environmental issues and social concerns to converge.

A modular and upgradeable construction system

The Stream Building is made of a wooden structure and concrete cores. Chosen for its remarkably low carbon impact, wood makes works to proceed more quickly and with fewer nuisances. The single 3.6 meter structural framework, which is expressed by a square geometry in the façade, accommodates a wide variety of programs: workspaces, an apartment hotel, restaurants, shops, a gym, and the like. This structure is equipped with a bioclimatic envelope. Its full-height glazing forms luminous open spaces. The treatment of the envelope is differentiated according to the orientations of the building: the large façade on the south-west features a ventilated double skin whereas the north façade only has a single skin. Rooftop solar panels meet a large part of the energy needs of the building. The domestic and uniform style of this facade allows for a scalable program, or even complete mutability. The design of the building, its flooring, its technical systems, and its fire safety systems all provide for a complete reversibility of uses. This makes it a truly resilient architectural prototype that adapts easily to population and market shifts. In twenty years’ time, it could very well accommodate a hotel, housing units, a cultural space, or a public facility in its different stories. The Stream Building is the affirmation of an architecture that is more relational than formal. Its voluntarily minimalistic façade, which echoes that of the neighboring Tribunal, constitutes the backdrop against which a permanent living picture is deployed. Its timber-frame structure extends into an exostructure at the tip of the building that will host an artistic program in the public space.

© Jean-Philippe Mesguen pour PCA-STREAM
© Jean-Philippe Mesguen pour PCA-STREAM
© Jean-Philippe Mesguen pour PCA-STREAM
© Jean-Philippe Mesguen pour PCA-STREAM
© Jean-Philippe Mesguen pour PCA-STREAM



Client Covivio (co-investor and co-developer) et Hines (co-developer)
Context Winner project of the call for innovative urban projects "Réinventer Paris"
Program Construction of a building including offices on demand, coworking areas, restaurants, festive place on the terrace, unpackaged trade, agricultural roof, local beer brewery
Location 6 avenue de la Porte de Clichy, Paris 17ème
Mission Complete
Surface area 16 000 m2
Status APD
Certifications HQE Excellent ; BREEAM Excellent ; Label Effinergie+
Team — General project manager: Builders & Partners
— BIM Manager: Syntesia
— Wood Structure: Charpente Concept
— Structure: Kephren
— Façades: VS-A
— Utilities engineering: CC Ingénierie
— Fire Safety: CSD Faces
— Acoustics: AVLS
— Landscape designer and urban agriculture: Topager
— Economist: AE75
— Technical inspection: Bureau Veritas
— Pollution advisor: HPC Envirotec
— Fitness advisor: Fitness Corporate
— Coworking consultant: LBMG Worklabs

Caption(s) image(s) from the page header

  • View form the parvis of Paris courthouse