The Link

The tower that redefines the skyline of La Défense

PCA-STREAM was tasked by Groupama to design an innovative tower that will renew the image of La Défense.
Revisiting the model of the traditional tower, The Link is emblematic of the transformation of working practices and a new relation to the city. Its morphology in two wings connected to one another with platforms called “links” allows the tower to provide spaces that foster interactions and collective intelligence, and gives an unprecedented place to nature in a high-rise building.

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The Link will mark the advent of the new La Défense

The Link will accelerate the historic transformation of the business district into a lively area reconnected to the city that began ten years ago with the northern ring road and numerous other developments, including Arena, Rose de Cherbourg, and Oxygène. The Link’s strategic location, at the boundary between the slab of La Défense and the city of Puteaux, makes it a powerful tool for land-planning for Paris La Défense.

The Link is an urban transformation project that operates along five main lines:
— The Link will rebalance the skyline of La Défense and create its new symbolic gateway, with the Tour First tower. The Link will act as a new landmark on the Axe royal, extending from the Louvre, the Champs-Élysées, and the Arc de Triomphe, visible from all over Paris and the metropolis.
—The construction of The Link on a layout slightly rearranged compared to the existing Gan Michelet buildings (slated for demolition) will create a new access towards La Défense from Puteaux, with a spacious thirty meter wide opening that will reconnect the slab to the city, especially as far as the mobility impaired and bicycles are concerned.
— The construction works accompanies the transformation of the ring road, currently consisting of four expressways with no pedestrian crossings and surrounded by a “no man’s land”, into a pacified urban boulevard specially adapted for pedestrians and soft mobilities. The Link will the first high-rise with a proper entrance on the boulevard accessible on foot or by bicycle.
— The Link will activate the complete refurbishing of Cours Michelet, a historic district of La Défense that has remained unchanged since the 1980s, in order to revise the landscape design and revive its connections with the city.
— The Link contributes financially to the restructuring of Metro Line 1’s Esplanade station, which has become necessary to solve congestion and foster low-carbon means of access to the business district.

The Link invents a radically new model in high-rise construction

Conventional high-rise towers are condemned by their intrinsic limitations, which were acceptable 5 to10 years ago but have now become critical flaws: verticality, partitioning, mineral make-up and, lack of outside access. Philippe Chiambaretta has therefore re-examined the basic tenets of a conventional high-rise tower, in order to address a complete change of paradigm in the way work is organized.
— The Link invents a new horizontal dimension. PCA-STREAM has imagined an optimal shape for this innovative tower, capitalizing on the exceptionally large parcel of land by splitting the high-rise building in two distinct wings, interconnected by thirty platforms — the “Links”. These platforms are more than eight meters wide and offer hanging gardens boasting spectacular views. They are designed as meeting grounds and each platform becomes a new “village square”.
— Unprecedented 6,000 sqm duplexes. By connecting the two buildings, these platforms create 3,000 sqm office floors, a size unrivaled in all of La Défense. Joined two to two by a wide and bright staircase, these spaces form duplexes with a surface area of 6,000 sqm that can accommodate up to 500 staff, i.e. four times more than in a conventional office high-rise.
— A pedestrian tower. Each duplex will have its own organic life in which travel will be on foot, without having to resort to an elevator, the intention being to generate increased human interaction and serendipity - a powerful catalyst for innovation.
— The first true “open-air” tower. With its 2,800 sqm of outdoor spaces (a new record for an office tower in France) including: 6 large terraces, 15 outdoor hanging gardens, 6 naturally-ventilated winter gardens and 2 rooftop gardens. No employee will sit at more than a thirty-second walking distance from an outside space.
— An iconic belvedere overlooking Paris. The landscaped garden on the rooftop, towering 154 meters above ground level creates a new view of Paris and the Axe royal (Arc de Triomphe – Concorde - Louvre) which will soon become a worldwide legend. The full-height glazed façade (exceptional in La Défense) delivers dramatic brightness.

The Link offers concrete solutions to today's environmental challenges

— The Link will enable TotalEnergies to reduce its energy use by 50% compared with its current high-rises thanks to its double-skin façade that provides thermal insulation and which will be fitted with solar panels, used for the first time in La Défense.
— The Link fosters the use of carbon-free transport: there is no car parking but 350 sqm of bicycle parking in the basement, direct access on foot or by bicycle from the boulevard, financing of the recalibration of Metro Line 1 and the calming of the ring road. Over the whole lifecycle of the building, the use of carbon-free transport by the collaborators working in the tower largely offsets the carbon footprint generated by its construction.

How does The Link respond to the post quarantine work modes?

Through agility built in from the design phase.

The tower was of course designed before the Covid-19 crisis. However, its unique characteristics in terms of modularity and versatility make it intrinsically “future-proof”. The Link can adapt with an ease never before achieved on a project of this magnitude, whatever the desired (re)configurations: partitioned working spaces, open floor plan layouts, mixed-use spaces, flex offices, connected workstations, pods, isolation chambers, etc. The innervation of the electrical distribution network, information systems and HVAC are key to making the building agile. For instance, fresh air outlets are positioned every two façade panels, i.e. every 2.70 m, which is the minimum width of a standard office desk and can provide 30 to 300 cbm of fresh air, which is the amount needed for one to ten individuals. In the event a high-density room is created, such as a meeting room that is five times more crowded that a typical office space, the flow of fresh air is automatically recalibrated in order to closely fit to the desired working mode for the space.

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

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Informations

Client Groupama Immobilier
Program Office tower with two wings including: 30 life platforms (the “Links”), an open-air rooftop, 10 cafés and restaurants, 3 auditoriums, a business center, a sports venue and a medical center.

CONSTRUCTION HEIGHT
— Arch-side : 241m
— Seine-side : 178 m
Location Cours Michelet, La Défense
Mission Full mission
Surface area 135 000 sqm
Status Under construction
Certifications HQE “Outstanding”; HQE Sustainable Building 2016 (V3 – Jan. 2019); BREEAM Excellent; BREEAM international 2016 – New construction; Well Building Standard Label – Level: Silver Effinergie+ 2013 Certification; Biodivercity Label – Level: Basic
Team Project Management : ADIM Paris Île-de-France — contrat de CPI
AMO Investissor : Egis Conseils — MA — CAPTIM
General Contractor : BATEG
Prime Contractor : Artelia
Structural Engineering Consultancy: Setec TPI
Geotechnical Analysis: Fugro
Façade Engineering Consultancy: EPPAG
HQE Certification Contractor: GreenAffair
Thermal and Fluids Consultancy: Barbanel
Catering Consultancy: Convergence
Acoustics: Jean Paul Lamoureux
Economist: AE75
Quality Assurance: Bureau Veritas
Fire Safety: CSD Faces
Landscape Design: Coloco Paysage

Tenant : TotalEnergies