Sébastien Matty, Chairman of GA Smart Building, and his teams have just symbolically launched works on their future head office at Toulouse Montaudran Aérospace, by organising a “wishing tree” ceremony. The ceremony was attended by Jean-Luc Moudenc, Mayor of Toulouse and President of Toulouse Métropole; Annette Laigneau, President of Oppidea; and the project’s architects, Takaharu Tezuka and Orash Montazami.
Because a company’s head office embodies its vision, the GA Smart Building teams decided to kick off their project with an event inspired by the Japanese “wishing tree” tradition, which is practised during the Tanabata star festival. This ceremony symbolises longevity, strength and wisdom, with the aim of granting wishes. All those present were able to hang their wishes on a Niwaki tree that will be replanted in the GA head office gardens upon delivery.
Aware of the high environmental impact of real estate and building, GA Smart Building’s first wish was to develop a project demonstrating decarbonised real estate and off-site construction. The group has therefore set about developing new solutions that limit its buildings’ carbon and energy footprint as much as possible to adapt to climate change and usher in the era of low-carbon real estate without compromising on quality of use and user comfort.
In its quest for energy excellence, GA Smart Building has designed the building to optimise multiple energy sources (geothermal and geostorage, district heating and cooling network with 80% RE, photovoltaic plant and green energy supplier) according to carbon weight, availability and price of energy. The Group’s R&D unit has developed a plug-in for optimising energy sources, with the assistance of CEA Tech Occitanie, to improve the building’s energy profile.
At the same time, GA Smart Building has deployed a low carbon strategy, with a view to technical simplicity. The building will have a large wood component, with a wooden structure and timber-framed façades, and will use reused, bio-sourced materials, such as cork, and less carbon-intensive materials, including low carbon concrete.
All of these steps will enable the GA Smart Building head office to be 5 years ahead of the RE2020 requirements in terms of carbon and to achieve an energy performance level in line with that expected in 2050 by the tertiary sector decree.
One key to the equation is the constructive off-site approach, which the group is more convinced than ever of its relevance in the current context.
We believe that off-site construction is the future of our industry. Our sector must undergo an industrial revolution in order to meet the immense challenges we face. With the construction of our future head office, we are demonstrating the virtues of our approach by completing a 6,000 m² low carbon building in just over a year, fully fitted out, with ambitious architecture and optimal comfort.
The Group’s other goal is to create a living building that offers a unique human experience and reflects a new way of looking at the relationship between life and the workplace. GA Smart Building has chosen to set up in the heart of a mixed public space that offers places to live and work, enjoy culture and leisure activities: the Toulouse Aerospace urban district, developed by Oppidea.
Opening onto the “Piste des Géants”, the cradle of civil aviation, the base of the building has been designed as a living space, similar to a hotel lobby. It will house a number of facilities: an organic restaurant, a DIY kitchen, an auditorium, a library, a health and fitness area, a shopping area, a bar, etc. Innovative and friendly, this vibrant space will feature daily activities and events (breakfasts, conferences, afterwork gatherings, festive events, etc.).
The building features inviting spaces complete with a grand, stunning staircase, lush garden, open views and two rooftops with 360° vistas overlooking the surrounding neighbourhood. 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 that promote sharing, focus and inspiration, while the central areas are exclusively designed as meeting areas.
The building is perfectly suited to a flexible office layout, with dedicated and personalised team spaces, combined with teleworking, which is now an integral part of the way people work. In addition to the GA Smart Building teams, the building will be home to an ecosystem of workers in the “Now-Pop the Work” spaces, run by Now Connected, an experienced coworking company that will help energise the spaces and teams.
By designing a building with sleek lines and smooth, transparent facades, the project’s architects, Takaharu Tezuka and Orash Montazami, wanted it to be an urban architectural landmark, capable of interacting with the Halle de la Machine and its astonishing artistic universe. 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. 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.
To incorporate the benefits of the biophilic approach to employee well-being and performance, the building will be rooted in a dense, animated island of biodiversity, allowing the vegetation to penetrate “from the outside in”, from the lobby to the upper floors. The rooftops and garden terraces are also designed as open-air spaces for working and relaxing.
Sold to Groupama Gan REIM in June 2022, the building will be delivered in just over a year in December 2023.
Élodie Le Breton
Communication, Marketing and Sustainable strategy Director