Henning Larsen has won the bid to design NØRR, a 55,000 m2 commercial and cultural district at the center of major urban development in Paris’ northern suburbs. The project is co-developed with AXA IM – Real Assets, Bouygues Immobilier and Plaine Commune Développement.
The design strikes a deft balance between the large scale of urban development and the intimacy needed to establish lasting communities. Softly pitched roofs and pocketed paths that weave through the ground level take inspiration from villages across France, updating traditional architectural language for a modern context.
“Our starting point was creating a design could fulfill 55,000 m2 of space while giving off a smaller sense of scale. We want to create a village, not a monolith,” Søren Øllgaard, Partner and Design Director at Henning Larsen said. “By gathering cultural venues and offices under the same roof, NØRR reimagines work life with a Scandinavian emphasis on personal interaction and a close connection with nature.”
Outdoor cafes, recreation space, cultural outposts, and sprawling gardens scattered throughout the area invite the public into NØRR’s daily life. This echoes in the buildings above: the offset volumes aim to diminish the presence of long windowless halls in favor of common social hubs linked by shorter and wider corridors (themselves social spaces.)
Establishing a strong social connection is essential, as NØRR is primed to emerge as a hub within the region’s future development. Major public works being built nearby, including Kengo Kuma’s hub station for the Grand Paris Metro Express and sports facilities for the 2024 Olympics, will reinforce Saint-Denis’ importance in the future development of Paris.
“We see NØRR as an epicenter in Paris’ ongoing urban expansion. In putting people and social connection at the forefront of development, we can ensure the health and sustainability of the neighborhood for generations to come.”
The project is Henning Larsen’s second win in Paris in 2019, following the studio’s contract for a major transformation and expansion of the Opéra Bastille in Paris.