"The corner of the Boulevard du Montparnasse and the Rue du Cherche-Midi could not be more Parisian.
For a long time Parisian hospitals had a familiar image of a small town within a large one. Composed of separate pavilions, they were usually surrounded by gardens intended as strolling spaces for visitors and sometimes patients. In the second half of the 20th century this typology gave way to vast functional buildings that are a far cry from the pavilion-based hospital and the Parisian ‘neighborhood’. Our goal here is to reconcile the two. Of course, the Imagine Foundation must be functional, but not in the restrictive sense of functionalism.
The belongingness of the Imagine Foundation to Paris and the desire to give character and symbolic importance to its noble vocation are also important architectural issues. We have sought to create an important urban corner that testifies to the urban accumulation characteristic of the 2010s and to enrich it with evidence of sensitivity. Imagine speaks with the rooftops of Paris, with its trees, its deep inner courtyards, and the Hausmannian forms around it. As a high-precision architecture of light, the building symbolizes the cutting-edge of today’s research; its character evident in the rhythm of the facades, where the graphic theme of cellular imagery, through its ambiguity, brings a poetic dimension, dreamlike and mysterious.
At night, these rhythms can be read in various ways; they give an impression of ‘windows’ at different scales. Along the Boulevard de Montparnasse the research entrance and the conference center blend transparently with the internal garden beyond, creating a large porch, a covered square that protects and welcomes."
Photo credits: Ateliers Jean Nouvel