The Biotope building, located in the French city of Lille, is an iconic 30,000m² seven-story architectural complex that transforms conventional office accomodation into a self-sustaining ecological community. Although originally designed to accommodate the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the building now houses ‘The European Metropolis of Lille’, an intercommunal public authority responsible for transport and infrastructure across 85 cities in the North of France.
The Biotope is conceived as a ripple made of glass, light and natural vegetation, three elements that form the basis of the design. There is a light-flooded atrium with an imposing spiral staircase which rises upwards in a sweeping curve; and the serpentine floor plan roughly follows a figure-of-eight path – a dramatic departure from traditional corridor-style offices. Employees circulate through a winding trail of skybridges and balconies, with every floor having access to the numerous exterior open spaces. The ground floor features a large reception hall and a 300-seat auditorium. The first floor is dominated by meeting and conference rooms; the second-to-sixth floors house offices with team and communal areas; and the seventh floor is a panoramic restaurant, with gardens and balconies.
Minimising thermal bridging is critical
It is an ultra energy-efficient building and minimising any risk of thermal bridging throughout was critical. To counter any problems such as heat loss, or the formation of condensation, especially with the balcony detailing, Schöck Isokorb load-bearing thermal insulation elements are designed in. These thermally separate the components from each other, while also forming an integral part of the structure. The products offer the architect complete freedom of design, as there are no restrictions when insulating curved shapes, balconies with offset heights, or supported balcony variants. Another special feature is earthquake resistance, and this too is assured with the use of the Isokorb.
Additional Schöck solutions
The exterior walls are also designed to be energy-efficient and the Biotope is characterised by a high proportion of precast concrete elements. On the ground floor there are core insulated double walls which demanded another Schöck solution. The Isolink, an energy-efficient alternative to conventional stainless steel lattice girders, when connecting the concrete skins of core-insulated sandwich and element walls. It is used here as a spacer and connecting element, where the individual components are reliably thermally separated from each other and thermal bridging minimised. On the upper floors, a further Schöck product is installed where expansion joint construction is required. The Schöck Dorn is used to horizontally reinforce the non-load-bearing interior walls. This serves as a safe, shear force connection between concrete components and as a result, the transverse forces occurring in the area of the expansion joints can be transmitted without any problems.
Unsurprisingly, this ultra energy-efficient building, which is designed and built entirely using BIM, meets the most stringent environmental standards and has been awarded numerous certifications.
For full information on the Schöck product range; or to view the range of downloadable software, contact Schöck on 01865 290 890 or visit the website at www.schoeck.co.uk