Located just beyond Paris’ périphérique, Saint-Denis is geographically close to the capital but has remained marginalized by infrastructural barriers and chronically underperforming housing. NØRR creates a lively new urban district here: from protected pedestrian walkways and cafes to human-scaled office spaces with open green terraces, the design integrates vibrant public and cultural life within a healthy workplace program. Just one stop away from the forthcoming Grand Paris Express hub station at Saint-Denis Pleyel, NØRR stands at the crossroads of local urban life, and draws professional and public realms together at a new hub of Saint-Denis activity.
On the ground level, 5,000 m2 of outdoor cafes, cultural space and green gardens invite the public into NØRR’s daily life, offering pedestrian corridors and small-scale gathering points that mirror the intimate setting of village streets. This village typology continues in the upper office floors – Offset building volumes avoid long, impersonal hallways, instead channeling occupants through smaller corridors marked by common social hubs. As the scene of living and working community, NØRR’s commitment to designing on a human scale ensures that work life grows in close dialogue with a broader sense of urban spirit.
Literally interpreted, NØRR refers to Saint-Denis’ orientation north of Paris.
Visually, the divided ‘Ø’ represents where dualities converge – where natural meets urban, where private meets public, and professional meets playful.
More broadly, it reflects design rooted in a Scandinavian approach where the scale of the city block is broken down into a human dimension and public space is integrated throughout.
The sprawling complex is urban in scale while maintain sensitivity to traditional typologies and community connectivity. Viewed from the ground, the buildings’ angled panels reveal a large glass façade and interior atriums that are a far cry from anonymous office blocks. When seen by commuters from the bordering train tracks, the open spaces between building masses invites deep views of daily life underway at NØRR. Amid the several other large-scale urban development and public works project underway in Saint-Denis, Henning Larsen cements the tenants of public space and healthy communities in the neighborhood’s rapid growth.