Architects occasionally have the opportunity to design the space to be occupied by their own architectural agency and the exercise is often a founding act, a manifesto expressing an identity and a conceptual approach.

True to its history and the roots established in Grenoble by the agency which, over the last three decades, has designed a large number of buildings in the city, Groupe-6 has chosen to reaffirm this choice of “host city”, despite its offices in Paris and increasing international experience which is now opening new horizons. Aware of the wide-ranging challenges facing the metropolis, the agency decided to locate itself in the Bouchayer-Viallet district, the city’s industrial heartland from the 1920s through to the 1960s and now emblematic of the urban renewal currently being carried out in central Grenoble.

This responsible civic and urban choice to be part of the city and contribute to consolidating this dynamic transformation was a strategic option, a decision to be involved in this vibrant development project. It is a district currently undergoing vast changes and already home to business incubators for creative young companies, cultural centres such as the Magasin and the rehabilitated factories of the former Cémoi chocolate manufacturer which now contain a dramatic arts centre and dance schools. This 14 hectare former industrial wasteland is now the setting for refurbished and new buildings, combining housing operations, office blocks and service sector buildings.

Close to the city centre and the station, the district opens up onto its urban surroundings. Abandoned for many years, jammed between the station and the motorway, it is now becoming a central and connected territory, a showcase
expressing Grenoble’s urban renewal. Lying in the centre, a public park acts as a green lung and echoes the redesigned
Square des Fusillés located near the Magasin cultural centre. This was the particular urban environment that Groupe-6 chose to locate its agency, a setting allowing it to participate
in the qualification and shaping of this central space by providing it with a façade.

Building for oneself is a way of questioning the way in which the designed premises are to be occupied. The architecture creates a space that either reduces or stimulates a dynamic of exchange and sharing. The agency grasped the opportunity represented by this personal project to question its practices and reinvent itself. While the agency’s existing building had evolved internally and progressively seen the construction of multiple extensions that became enclaves, the new building aims to create particularly fluid spaces positioned around a central atrium opening onto the garden and the landscape.

Reinventing an overall coherence, offering an opening onto the district and the city.


The compact project covers 2,200 m² of floor area. To optimise the built volume as well as construction and operational costs, the building’s surface covers the entire plot.


This is a passive building with a heating consumption estimated at 15 KW/h m² and 120 KW/h PE/m² inclusive of all types of consumption.


The ground floor, on the same level as the garden, incorporates the “public” spaces: reception, gallery space, waiting area, cafeteria with its own terrace, and meeting rooms. It is a space where both in-house and public events can take place: exhibitions, functions, gatherings, etc. to reinforce the concept of opening onto the city and the district.


An atrium lying in the heart of the work spaces rises up the entire height of the building. It defines an interior landscape that dialogues with the surrounding site. Walkways are used to highlight this double height and the views over the landscape of the Vercors plateau.


Partitioned meeting spaces and shared open spaces provide varied and multiple configurations for project meetings, the
reception of outside teams and informal group get-togethers of employees allowing them to exchange ideas and share experiences.


Light, air and opening onto the landscape reinforce the wellbeing of users in the work spaces. The interior and exterior views offer a calm setting.


Two floor levels provide the work spaces for the architecture, town planning, landscape design, interior design, surveying and construction sections. The landscaped offices opening onto the central atrium and private offices on the east façade are separated from one another by the central distribution core.

The warm finishes to be found in the work spaces (oak flooring, white walls, specific integrated furniture and adapted office furniture) are reminiscent of a well-lit, comfortable and welcoming domestic environment.


Change is a constant factor for architecture agencies and consequently it is necessary to anticipate changes in staff levels, the spatial organisation required to cater to specific project needs, and general surface area requirements. The building is divisible and modular. It has two entrances permitting a distribution of flow movements.


Private terraces on the ground and second floor allow the relaxation spaces to extend outdoors. With the exception of the accessible terraces on ground floor level, the entire plot is planted (planted slab to the north over the car park and roof).


Concrete structure (central core and slab) for its overall inertia and ability to meet the earthquake resistance standards in the Grenoble region. Small concrete/metal columns around the periphery to pick up the floor slab cantilevers, based on the same 2.70 metre grid governing the entire building (façades, false ceilings, etc.).


A very high performance envelope comprising two separate parts creates a contrast between solids and voids:

A thick wall (45 centimetres) protects the offices. It is formed from a primary wood structure fixed to the slab nosing and several criss-crossed layers of wood wool and is protected by a satin finish pre-patinated slate-coloured zinc skin. Zinc trays and horizontal windows follow a staggered alternating layout on the 270 x 60 cm grid (with silver fir and aluminium joinery
elements; shutters with stackable slats either controlled by the BMS or individually operated). This wall integrates large glazed volumes (argon-filled low emission triple glazing: thermal transmittance – 1.00W/m² K) protected on ground floor level by Douglas fir screens while those of the atrium are protected by
electric stackable slat shutters.

This thick wall extends through the car park ceiling slab and the roof. The externally applied insulation ensures continuity without heat bridge. Particular attention is paid to ensuring air tightness (level 14 -0.6) which was subject to rigorous testing during site works.


Cooling and natural ventilation have been privileged to avoid air conditioning.


Reducing hot water production in an office space is a green commitment and an economic choice. To reduce energy costs, washroom taps will only be provided with cold water. The exceptions to this rule will be the showers in the changing room and the cafeteria sink which shall be provided with independent hot water supplies. The collection of rainwater from the roof terrace participates in watering planted areas. Car park runoff water passes through a hydrocarbons tank.