With its new head office based in Toulouse, GA Smart Building takes another step towards carbon-free real estate and addresses the challenges of new ways of working.
Located near Halle de La Machine, in the centre of the urban district of Toulouse Aerospace, developed by Oppidea, this 6,000 m² building will be constructed on the “Piste des Géants”, the cradle of civil aviation. Situated in the heart of a diverse public area, this is a unique place for living and working as well as cultural discovery and leisure activities.
A dynamic building offering a unique human experience
The GA Smart Building head office offers a new way of experiencing the relationship between a company and the workplace.
Overlooking the “Piste des Géants”, the building’s ground floor has been designed as a dynamic space, similar to the lobby of a hotel, offering a range of facilities, including an organic restaurant with a “Do It Yourself” kitchen, a concierge service, a health and fitness area, an auditorium, a library, a shopping area, a bar, and more. Innovative and inviting, this vibrant area will feature daily events and entertainment (including breakfasts, conferences, after-work get-togethers, work photoshoots, pop-up events, as well as “I made this” workshops). It is also designed to host parties and special occasions.
The building offers inspiring areas with a grand, stunning staircase, a lush garden, open views and two rooftops with 360° vistas overlooking the surrounding district. Digital and contemporary artwork has been incorporated into the various spaces, further enriching the user experience.
On each level, star-shaped platforms free up large peripheral spaces that can be used for a variety of purposes and encourage sharing, focus and inspiration, while the central areas are exclusively designed as meeting areas.
The building is also home to a vibrant community consisting of the GA Smart Building teams and a new ecosystem of people working in the “Now-Pop the Work” spaces, led by Now Coworking, an expert in coworking, which the group welcomes to its head office to energise the spaces and teams.
With its sleek lines and smooth, transparent facades, the GA Smart Building head office is a symbol of urban architecture, interacting with the Halle de La Machine as well as its artistic environment. This project is the result of an unprecedented partnership between two remarkable architectural agencies: The French agency Studio Montazami, and Japanese agency Tezuka Architects, appearing for the first time in France. Together they also designed one of the building’s facades as a surface for free artistic expression. Vibrant and innovative, it will regularly host new works of art to share and enjoy with the local community.
Health and well-being are key
At a time of increasing demand for well-being, the building’s concept incorporates elements essential to the health and well-being of its occupants.
Natural light provides numerous benefits. It improves our morale, concentration, the ability to learn and even our sleep.
Largely glazed, office areas will provide generously lit spaces and breath-taking views over the site’s natural surroundings. Breathable façades incorporate mobile screens that protect against external glare from the sun and contribute to the building’s energy performance.
Wood is naturally incorporated into this building design. Smart and eco-friendly, it is also a source of well-being for its occupants, offering a calming environment with optimal humidity, thermal and acoustic conditions. Convinced of the benefits of using a biophysical approach to ensure employees well-being and performance, the teams worked with Studio Mugo landscapers to maximise the project’s exposure to nature. As a result, the building is set in a dense and vibrant area of biodiversity, allowing vegetation to penetrate “from the outside in”, starting with the lobby and climbing to the upper levels.
The rooftops and garden terraces are also designed as open-air spaces for working and relaxing.
Like all GA Smart Building designs, the future head office will incorporate state-of-the-art air treatment modules with external air inlets on each office unit, preventing fresh air from mixing with polluted air. They are designed to provide optimal air renewal and can be regulated to a reduced ventilation speed during periods of low occupancy to deter viruses from settling on the filters. They are easy to program and can be used to quickly and efficiently implement health strategies.
Finally, users, including GA Smart Building employees, who are deeply concerned about the issue of sustainable mobility, will be able to access the site by bike, bus, train, and metro with the completion of the third line. The future bridge, exclusively for pedestrians and cyclists, which will cross over the Toulouse ring road, will also connect the new building to the Canal du Midi.
A low-carbon construction manifesto
Aware of the high environmental impact of real estate and construction, GA Smart Building is developing new solutions to limit the carbon and energy footprint of its building designs.
For these new-generation buildings, it is particularly important to develop a carbon emissions strategy aimed at reducing our reliance on fossil fuels as much as possible, thereby satisfying the requirements of the RE2020. Bioclimatic design, off-site construction, wooden structures, reuse and installation of high-performance equipment, everything has been conceived to adapt to climate change and enter the era of post-carbon real estate without compromising the occupants’ level of comfort or the project’s aesthetic.
The new head office is aiming for energy excellence, in keeping with Agua – the current head office – which was the first tertiary building in France to obtain the BEPOS (Bâtiment à énergie positive [Positive energy building]) Effinergie® label and which, six years after its completion, continues to produce more energy than it uses. It integrates a number of different energy sources and will be managed by the latest generation of Galaxy Pilot software, in addition to an artificial intelligence module. This has been developed with the CEA (Commissariat à l’énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives [French Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission]), and will monitor the availability of energy sources (geothermal, solar power, etc.), its carbon impact and its cost, with a view to optimising consumption and levelling out peaks. The project is also a participant in the “NoWatt” tender for projects carried out in the French Occitanie region.
In addition to an off-site construction approach, characteristic of GA Smart Building, the project was also conceived with a circular economy rationale. As a result, GA is working with a specialist in reusable materials and plans to reuse the furniture from its current head office.
This initial low-carbon, off-site real estate project, featuring a wide range of services, heralds the launch of an inspiring, highly interactive and appealing 29,000 m² urban campus, with a second phase of 23,000 m² to be unveiled in the coming months.
Today we are presenting an ambitious project that reflects our social and environmental commitments and expresses our DNA to perfection. This exemplary project at the cutting edge of architecture – highly-developed in terms of conception, construction and use – intends to offer the user a unique human experience. We firmly believe that the workplace is more than ever a vector for employee well-being and business performance. Today, we continue to innovate and offer increasingly high-quality buildings that meet the needs of new applications and are able to embody a truly corporate project.
By moving its head office to the Toulouse Aerospace eco-district, GA Smart Building has made the right choice. I am confident that our workforce will enjoy their future working environment, which is going to be particularly dynamic in a district that we wanted to bring to life, populate and offer all the services an urban area requires (be they cultural, leisure or commercial). This new generation low-carbon building will be situated on the iconic Piste des Géants, between La Halle de La Machine and the Innovation Campus to the south, dedicated to the technology industries of the future.