Type of project : Activities and industry
Total surface area : 30 000 M²
Construction time : 30 Months
Location : North / Paris region

Led by GA Smart Building, Cité Universelle is a property complex of nearly 30,000 m², located at Porte de Pantin, in the east of Paris. Won on the site of "La Marseillaise", as part of "Réinventer.Paris 2, les dessous de Paris” [Reinvent.Paris 2, below Paris], a call for innovative urban projects launched by Paris City Hall, Cité Universelle is a manifest project, which is directed at all, whether they have a disability or not.

Cité Universelle is an emblematic project, designed to symbolise universal accessibility, an idea set in motion by Ryadh Sallem, a high-level athlete, association activist, entrepreneur in the Social and Solidarity Economy and Ambassador of Paris 2024. Co-designed by the Baumschlager Eberle Architekten and Inedit Architecture agencies, Cité Universelle has been imagined as a new entrance to the city. AEW, an investor partner of GA Smart Building, acquired the entirety of Cité Universelle, using an SRI (Socially Responsible Investment) vehicle. To be operational prior to the Olympic and Paralympic Games of Paris in 2024, at the end of some 30 months of work, Cité Universelle will have its building permit filed during 2019, prior to the launch of the work envisaged in the summer of 2020.  


The genesis of an unprecedented project of universal accessibility

In the list of 34 proposed sites in the "Réinventer.Paris 2, les dessous de Paris” call for projects, launched in September 2017, most were underground, with the exception of the "La Marseillaise", located in the 19th arrondissement of Paris, close to the Parc de la Villette and its emblematic Philharmonie. Responsible for the only constraint to maintain a pre-park area of approximately 4,500 m², it is this site that retains the attention of GA Smart Building. When it consulted one of the neighbouring town halls, the team from GA Promotion learnt of a project that had finally been abandoned for a universally accessible gym, imagined in view of the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The athlete, Ryadh Sallem, revealed that in Paris, no sporting infrastructure is capable of correctly accommodating disabled athletes, and that no hotel has more than 5% of its rooms accessible for people with reduced mobility. The idea of a property complex that was intrinsically accessible, to all and to all forms of disability, gained ground. After having brought together different relevant and committed partners, GA Smart Building submitted its "Réinventer Paris" project for the site of "La Marseillaise", which was unanimously chosen by the Jury of the call for innovative projects.


An inclusive ecosystem, composed of 4 hubs

At the heart of Cité Universelle, the sports centre is composed of a multi-purpose gym with floor space of nearly 3,800 m² and 9 metres of clearance. Among the 1,000 seats that will be installed, 20% will be accessible to persons with reduced mobility, 10 times more than the standard. A training venue and the headquarters of CAPSAAA, the adapted sports club, this fully scalable room can also accommodate an enlarged range of events, including national and international competitions, and it will host the preparations for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Equipped with a fitness room, spa and a doctor’s surgery, operated by IPSO Santé, the Health centre aims to respond to the needs of daily users of Cité Universelle as well as to those of the inhabitants and of working people of the neighbourhood. The work’in centre will accommodate a coworking space operated by Startway, 16,000 m² of offices and the headquarters of the Handitech Association. With its hotel residence of 109 rooms, all wheelchair accessible, including 55 studios suitable for wheelchairs and a few medicalised rooms, the Hospitality centre will complement this ecosystem. In terms of food, it will have to rely on the agricultural production of 1,000 m² of the rooftop, which will supply the inter-company restaurant as well as the "Les Turbulentes" restaurant and the grocery shop on the ground floor, open to users of the complex and to local residents. Firmly anchored in the lush green environment of the Parc de la Villette, the building will, in addition, have an ascending and circular external promenade.


Cité Universelle, a pioneer of accessibility and environmental certification

Cité Universelle will be the first new building to gain AAA certification under the LA Accessibility Label issued by CERTIVEA. This label has the most comprehensive accessibility requirements. 

The property complex estate is also aiming for the OsmoZ, BEPOS Effinergie, E+C- level E3C1 labels intended to minimise its carbon impact to the maximum, and the BREEAM International, HQE® Excellent level and Ready to Service (R2S) labels. 

The off-site construction approach developed by GA Smart Building and its subsidiary, Ossabois, will, furthermore, reduce nuisances for the local residents to the maximum. 


Cité Universelle will eventually be a laboratory with a wood/concrete structure developed by GA Smart Building and Ossabois with, on the one hand, the creation of mega metal beams to achieve 9 metres in under-ceiling height in the multi-sports hall and, on the other hand, two floors dedicated to the hotel residence entirely designed in modular wood by Ossabois.

Presentation sheet

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Contact Nathalie Chapuis / Head of programs