Métro St. Lazare + Exclusive Interview

by on 14/ 03/ 2011, under Buildings, Engineering, Interviews, Uncategorized

…The Saint-Lazare station designed by Arte Charpentier is an amazing kinetic metro entrance…..

Sortie de Métro St. Lazare par Arte Charpentier & Associés

The Saint-Lazare station designed by Arte Charpentier is an amazing kinetic metro entrance. It continues the goal for creating identifiable metro entrances throughout Paris.
It is shaped like a lens, a combination from a torus and a sphere. Due to the shape of a lens, Arte Charpentier & Associés accepted the challenge to create sliding doors for this particular shape. Sliding doors are elements of kinetic architecture, which have already a long history. But this shaped is quite unique. The glass-stain less steel construction consist of 108 different, double bent glass panels, which lie on 9 cross and 11 longitudinal beams. The entrance consists of 2 sliding doors of 5,50 m (width) x 3,5m (height). These doors get closed at night and opened in the morning with a speed of 4 meter a minute. To move the 1600kg doors a gear motor of 0,25 kW is needed.

“…These special sliding doors are truly remarkable and showcase the quality of design from Arte Charpentier & Associés. ….”

These special sliding doors are truly remarkable and showcase the quality of design from Arte Charpentier & Associés. I like to cover outstanding designs however, with an exclusive interview of the architect, if possible. Unfortunately while getting in contact with the office, a sad message received me. Arte Charpentier had left us on 24 December 2010.

So KineticArchitecture.Net offers his sincere condolences to all employees as well as the family. I wish you all lots of strength during this difficult time. To continue the outstanding work of Arte Charpentier & Associés, Mr. Abbès Tahir, Associate Director and designer of this project, answered the following questions about the Métro St. Lazare.

Here the official press release from Arte Charpentier & Associés:
“The Saint-Lazare station was constructed for the RATP as part of the creation of the Météor underground line in Paris. The design challenge was to find a solution to clarify the organization of a station where four lines cross. The main entrance to the station is on the Cour de Rome, through a glass “lense” which lets in daylight, deep into the station. The main spine of the light shaft is used to link different levels and to clarify the traffic pattern to passengers. The “lense” was inspired by Hector Guimard’s logic of asserting identifiable metro entrances throughout Paris. The station is a bold landmark, remarkable for its simplicity and discretion. The main entrance for the metro also includes an inclined lift for disabled people.”

Exclusive interview
                         with Abbès Tahir:

1. You have been influenced by?
Abbès Tahir: “Spontaneously, it does not occur to me, yet there is in the lens of Saint-Lazare, an influence of Richard Buckminster Fuller’s futuristic work, that probably inspired me with his sophisticated forms, where engineering is in harmony with architecture.

2. When did you actually realize that you have an inclination towards architecture?
Abbès Tahir: “I had taste for this very early during my childhood. When I was a little boy, I wanted to build cities and buildings. After wandering in the visual arts and mathematics, architecture has become a vocation.

3. Is there any structure that you’ve been in that you found difficult to leave?
Abbès Tahir: “I currently work within a practice made of architects from all around the world with various experiences, forming a cultural melting pot. It is a continuous source of learning and inspiration.”

“…It is a combination of multiple parameters that produces the answer. ….”

4. What are the main determinants in the design process for you?
Abbès Tahir: “It is a combination of multiple parameters that produces the answer. Regarding the glass lens that I called I called this way in reference to the Fresnel lens, the answer becomes relevant only with regard to the initial issue: We had to cover the access with a shelter of glass to let the flow of natural light in the depths of the station, and help the passengers to find their way around the city. Adapting of the form and structure have rarely been of such complexity, given the criteria of analysis and low feedback we had on that type of shape. The St. Lazare lens is a curved canopy on public area and it must fulfill a number of constraints without sacrificing aesthetics.”

5. What made you come up with the concept of the Metrostation Saint-Lazare?
Abbès Tahir: “Well, searching very deep in the mazes of my mind, it would probably leads me back to the readings of these illustrators of futuristic cities, halfway between the worlds of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis or 2001, A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick. The architect is the witness of his time, his inspiration comes from his career, his analysis on the history of creation, he must have a vision to move forward progressive business and society. In this sense we speak of the social role of the architect.”

6: What are the programmatic requirements of the competition?
Abbès Tahir: “The architectural house-style book of Meteor was the basis of our reflection. It has been marked by the vocabulary of design: organization of perspectives in a sensitive space.

The architectural house-style book of Meteor gave a synthesis of researches, providing examples of solutions, mezzanines, overhangs, to offer travelers the continuity of paths, by staging of lighting environments and exposing innovative equipment (elevators, escalators mechanical and landing doors) , tunnels and the tympanum at the end of the dock. Within this context, the space station hollowed from inside as a theatrical cave dwelling architecture

The architectural form helped re-create links between the underworld and the requirements of the outside world by modulation of natural light, direct or concealed, through the lighting and materials processing.
The lighting of constructions and vaults gives the passenger a better understanding of volume and directions: visual perception of platforms and tunnels, the continuous light following the paths, highlighting of innovative equipment, mezzanines enhancing the depth and vertical circulation, lifts and transparent doors.

“…introducing the impression of the depth of the underground ….”

All these elements contribute to the identity of the station Saint-Lazare station and of its new line. They were designed to meet functional needs and heritage, and to characterize the transport service.
Rather than a strictly architectural assessment of this metro line, one should take into account the implementation of an ecology of mobility aiming to seeking perceptive comfort a series of objects and signs inserted in one landscape of movement.
The lens entry follows this idea, but also aims to improving and changing the Cour de Rome’s image, introducing the impression of the depth of the underground.”

7. How do the moving doors open and get controlled? And at what speed do they move?
Abbès Tahir: “Swing doors slide along two rails hidden, one in the ground, the other visible and hanging from the structure of the lens. Moving at low speed is recommended for this type of establishment. The doors are driven by a motor of small size, sensors allow the door to stop moving in case of obstruction.”

8. With kinetic architecture, the building services or mechanical systems become extremely complex. How do you manage to deal with this issue in your design?
Abbès Tahir: “For the extension of their fully-automated line to St Lazare station, the Paris Metro Authority (RATP) required a street-level entrance that would be an outstanding symbol of their investment in the city.
Arte-Charpentier Architectes, proposed a glass bubble – “Lentille”- with a very discreet structure made of stainless steel. We achieved this by superimposing interlinked arches onto the doubly-curved surface, and by introducing cable triangulation in the flattened central section. Slender delta-shaped sections were chosen for the ribs because of their superior capacity to reflect light. Profiles are fabricated by extrusion and given a shot-blasted finish.

The movement of sliding doors has been made possible thanks to the 3D modeling and kinetics. These stainless steel doors, more than 3 tons each, slide along two rails, the first has a curved path embedded in the ground, the second has a more curved radius so as to fit in the sides of the lens.”

9. So what do you think you are trying to say through your design?
Abbès Tahir: “People liked this new form, which invites the passenger in a world of sophistication, it is a showcase for modernization of the network.”

“…My will goes to creating kinetic (or less still) architecture, lead me to propose this type of closing door system.. ….”

10. What do you think about kinetic architecture?
Abbès Tahir: “My will goes to creating kinetic (or less still) architecture, lead me to propose this type of closing door system. Nevertheless, the analysis of moving elements in a given place has to deal with a number of constraints such as regulations and security.
The shape of the leaves, result of the Tore geometry, hides inside the lens, only part emerges as the wings of a beetle. These doors are architectural objects inseparable of the lens.
Like the god Janus, the lens is bicephalous, the gate retracts 1:30am to open at 5:30am, following the schedule of the Parisian subway. The architecture of the movement was thus imposed by itself.”

11. What are your current obsessions and preoccupations?
Abbès Tahir: “For almost two decades there is a universal concern about links between energy consumption, buildings, urban planning and environmental pollution. Today the architect is facing needs of improving the sustainability of the built environment throughout the whole range of services necessary to human activity. This was amplified with the growing awareness of the public, the importance of “sustainable development”, which goes in the direction of improving our living environment.

This collective awareness leads to put pressure on the industry to strengthen research and development in the”sustainability” field. In addition, the built environment, including buildings, public facilities and construction industry is facing a lot of new regulations, standards, largely generated by this will for a better living.

So how can industry play its role in reducing its environmental impact on the world, and what are the challenges we face today and in the future? Architects, planners, engineers, stakeholders from industry and politicians have much to learn about aspects of sustainable development, we’re still pretty young.”

“…There is only one absolute maxim: that there is nothing absolute. ….”

12. Any maxim you’d like to leave for our readers?
Abbès Tahir: “There is only one absolute maxim: that there is nothing absolute. “Auguste Comte, Cours de philosophie positive. (extract from a lecture of Auguste Comte, on positive philosophy)”

images courtesy of arte charpentier, Didier Boy de la Tour and Olivier Laban-Mattei auf einer größeren Karte anzeigen



3 Comments for this entry

  • jie hun

    Thanks for the fantastic work! Cool blog. You will find a number of opinions on this topic and this blog states the issue very great.

  • Don Pebworth

    Thanks , I have just been searching for info about this subject for ages and yours is the greatest I’ve discovered till now. But, what about the bottom line? Are you sure about the source?

  • Charles Bounds

    If anyone can shed some light on this….please do.

    Why was I drawn to a picture and this website. I was looking for a picture of a baby changing station I was working on.
    I saw a picture of abbastahir and I had to click on it. This Jean Marie fellow has something to do with it as well.

    Im being pulled toward a direction I know nothing about. Can you help me understand what spiritual thing is happening to me. Its real and its magnetic and it is getting stronger. Who is this god janus? I feel his history has something to do with some of this. Charlie

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