Michelin HQ Canopy, Clermont-Ferrand Reception Area, France Building Renovation, French Architecture
Michelin Headquarter Canopy in Clermont-Ferrand
9 Dec 2022
Design: Encore Heureux Architectes, Construire and Base
Location: Clermont-Ferrand, France
Photos: Nicolas Trouillard
Michelin HQ Canopy, France
Implanted on the Carmes site of Clermont-Ferrand since the company’s inception in the late 19th century, Michelin’s Canopy acquired its status as the company’s headquarters in the 2000s. The project, delivered in 2021, and carried out in partnership between Encore Heureux Architectes, Construire, and Base, aims to embody the image of the group in a welcoming, unique, and cohesive space, while inserting itself in an emblematic public square. The headquarters’ innovative new reception area symbolizes Michelin’s reinvention, conceived to face 21st century challenges head-on; a design and operation that were conceptualized from a circular economy perspective, mindful of environmental impacts.
“For 130 years, Michelin has reinvented itself time and time again to adapt to its environment. Today, the company is proud to inaugurate its renovated headquarter reception area,” explains Florent Menegaux, President of the Michelin Group. “The historic manufacturing headquarters – the very same place in which our small rubber bullet company was founded in 1889 – was in need of a new setting to project Michelin into the future.”
A new identity
In order to respond to Michelin’s wish of renewing itself without erasing its past, the project’s committed position is to offer an extension of the current headquarters over two levels. The extension is provided with an energetic new façade that seeks to appreciate its historic structure. The new project connects the current buildings, while simultaneously embodying a reception area and the group’s main entrance.
It also acts as a permeable interface between the company’s private spaces and the public square, the latter of which was also renovated in a development plan conducted by the city and Michelin Group. From outline to delivery, the conception of the architectural program, and of the project’s design, unfolded within the remit of an architectural consulting period. This method of continuous presence and on-site follow-up allowed for a greater understanding of the group’s identity, while introducing a mindful practice that recognized the residents’ needs and adapted the program accordingly.
A simple and fundamental idea permeated the overall project suggested by Encore Heureux: “Bringing a potential vision to life for such an emblematic company was a challenge. The headquarters’ future could only be decided upon in collaboration with the company and within the company itself,” explains Nicola Delon, founding partner of Encore Heureux. “This idea went hand in hand through an architectural consulting period with a studio set up at the heart of the company. Dialogue and workshops with Michelin teams truly became a corner stone of the design process behind the transformative headquarter program.”
A multi-faceted and inventive program
The main challenge the project addressed was that of connecting heterogeneous spaces between themselves in a consistent union intended to receive thousands of visitors daily. The tropical glasshouse, initiated by Edouard Michelin on the plaza in the early 2000s, held an uncertain future; it was preserved in the architectural program and integrated into the visitor’s experience. The glasshouse features the logo, acting as a symbol of the group’s values of transparency and openness towards the city and the world.
The tree-lined plaza extends to the edges of Carmes square, provided with furniture, greenery, and water displays to ensure freshness in the summertime. The Carmes site, historically reserved for Michelin employees, now offers public access. It features versatile exhibition spaces, a store, the glasshouse museum, and the welcoming Café Equateur. Working areas are adapted to new jobs and more collaborative working methods, and the order of the architectural program evolves to lead visitors from the public area to the company’s private spaces.
A design anchored in contemporary challenges
The Canopy is more than a reception building. Its structure responds to two primary challenges: transparency and proximity on the one hand, and a low carbon footprint on the other. The choice of transparency is embodied by the vast glass façade, sheltered from the sun by the wooden awnings that cover its 160-meter length, which provides the new headquarters with its unique identity. Curves are prevalent in the architectural design and furniture, mirroring those of Michelin’s tires.
Consumption of cement was extremely limited, in favor of sustainably-sourced, repurposed, and local materials. Particular attention was attached to the local area, and thus an overwhelming majority of companies that worked on the construction are local. The use of regional materials was a common goal that aimed to implement simple constructive principles without compromising the site’s industrial nature, such as the use of steel for the structure, or the decision to make the grid and frames visible.
Know-how, quality, and innovation are values that Michelin embodies. They are wholly shared by the Encore Heureux and Construire agencies that suffused them into the project process. The Canopy symbolizes the new challenges sustainable mobility is faced with, while illustrating the connection that unites Michelin and the city of Clermont-Ferrand.
Michelin Headquarter Canopy in Clermont-Ferrand, France – Building information
Design: Encore Heureux Architectes, Construire and Base
Project manager: Mpf michelin
Prime contractor: Architectural team / encore heureux architectes + construire
Landscaper / base: Structure and façade technical studies office (tso) / dvvd
Economist / hecos
Fluid and thermal tso / alto
Acoustic tso / atelier rouch
Roads and miscellaneous networks tso / ateve
General company / léon grosse
Surface area: 11 000 sqm
Pre-tax construction budget: 26 m €
Design: 2016 → 2018
Construction: 2018 → 2021
Address: 23 place des carmes, 63 000 clermont-ferrand
• reception building of the Michelin Headquarters
• exhibition spaces
• dining area
• shopping area
• restoration of the tropical glasshouse
• offices and meeting rooms
• architectural consulting period
• continued dialogue
• repurposing of construction materials
• furniture design
Local and sustainably-sourced Materials:
• volcanic rock from local quarries
• wood sourced from Corrèze and Massif Central
Encore Heureux Architectes
Encore Heureux Architectes has been exploring the idea of generalist architecture since 2001, operating at different levels on spatial, social, and urban issues with a tactful efficiency that pervades its projects. Encore Heureux has delivered several cultural and innovative facilities for public, private, or nonprofit clients, where questions of use and comfort were fundamental concerns.
The projects included a consideration for the recovering of preexisting buildings and the use of repurposed materials, while favoring resident appropriation through unprogrammed spaces and functions. In 2018, Encore Heureux was commissioned by the French Pavilion, as part of the 16th international Venice Biennale of Architecture, for its “Infinite Places” exhibit, an inventory of spaces that embody the unexpected and a sense of common aspiration.
Photographs: Nicolas Trouillard
Michelin HQ Canopy, Clermont-Ferrand France images / information received 091222 from v2com newswire
Location: Clermont-Ferrand, France, western Europe
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