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The surrounding area imposes a particular response to each elevation: the railway (accompany the railway landscape), Bercy (set-back the building to create a public space connected to the riverbank), the Seine (affirm the presence of a major public building on the river), the business quarter (create a transition).
The Ministry of Economy and Finances is primarily a place where thousands of civil servants work and the place where tax-payers are received. This architectural study is part of a redefinition of the principles of what makes an administrative building. It is symbolically a transparent and open place (even if secure and solid), with clear access, simple organization, recognizable marker-points for orientation, naturally-lit circulation towards different spaces, well-lit offices extended to balconies. Reaping from the Modern Movement, the use of columns, light, space liberated by the structure, curtain-wall membranes are all exploited to a maximum based on the working of a certain horizontality which effaces visual repetitiveness of the elements.
A horizontal façade. Long. Calm. Dignified. It is reflected in the accompanying lateral water-basin. Light, parallel, changing rhythms altered by the lights and shadows of glass-block balconies. The first sequence consists of molded aluminium panels, defined by offset copper-verdigris joints. The second sequence plays on the transparency of suspended walkways. The third works with the horizontal mullions and balcony panels fixed with glass insulators. The final sequence exploits larger copper-verdigris lines which are more spaced apart, following the rounded prow on the riverfront. The elevation on the Seine plays on including the neighboring façade of the old customs house. The overhang of the cantilever is reflected in the river.