An environmental role model “Smart City” urban development project
France’s highest 10-storey 35-metre-high office building in wood, erected by the Nexity Ywood and Architecture Studio, underlines the great ambitions of Nice Méridia of creating a strategic location for the sustainable urban development programme of Eco-Vallée Plaine du Var close to Nice.
With an exemplary density of almost 8,000 m2 on a plot of barely 1,500 m2 , it successfully meets all the environmental challenges: plus-energy building (BEPOS) thanks to a district heating system and photovoltaics; low CO2 emissions since more than 90% of the 1,800 m3 of wood used is of French origin; biodiversity thanks to gardens on each storey as well as many planted areas with edible plants that are managed by local farmers, indoor air quality, flexible use of spaces, and a short and dry construction.
It not only meets all the labels such as “Bâtiment Biosourcé” (bio-based buildings) and “Bâtiments Durables Méditerranéens” for sustainable Mediterranean buildings (silver award), but is also aiming for the "BREEAM-in-Use" certification. “We signed a 10-year energy performance contract including multi-technical maintenance," says Stéphane Bouquet, former managing director of Nexity Ywood.
Location: Nice, France Year: 2019 Building Type: Office buildings Customer: Nexity Ywood (75) Architect: Architecture Studio Fabricator: Difral Photographer: © Hervé Fabre Used systems: Façades WICTEC 50, windows WICLINE 75 evo, doors WICSTYLE 65 HI
The right material in the right place
For this landmark project, Marc Lehman, associated architect from Architecture Studio, points to Nice’s close relationship with the sun, sea and travel, to voyages to the Venetian palaces such as the Ca d’Oro and its gothic façade in light chiselled stone. So, the Palazzo Méridia is also wrapped in a white metal exoskeleton construction located in front of the loggias and balconies with a latticework tapering upwards.
“The unique appearance of this vertical shading system sets the façade apart from the local office and residential buildings,” says the architect. In this earthquake-prone region, the metal external skin also plays a key role along with the two central concrete cores in strengthening the stability of the timber frame construction (CLT façades and floors, glulam post-and-beam construction). “One of the reasons for the project's success lies in the optimal combination of different materials," emphasises the client.
Due to the salt-laden sea air, aluminium was the material of choice for the frame constructions. This choice was supported by the technical performance and environmental characteristics of the WICONA solutions implemented by Difral.
The WICONA solutions: natural ventilation and high-performance windows
Right from the design stage, close cooperation ensured that the systems meeting the most suitable environmental standards (Cradle to Cradle), as well as technical and aesthetic qualities WICONA solutions were chosen, right through to prefabrication and on-site installation. At the base of the building, where the latticework is the widest, painted in the same white 9010, a 260 m2 WICTEC 50 curtain wall stands 3 metres high on three sides. The specialty: an exclusive natural ventilation system of 40 narrow (250 mm) full height and hinged vents positioned between the individual fixed lights.
A total of 270 WICLINE 75 evo windows (L 1.20 x H 2.50 m) which meet the combined requirements for wind resistance, water tightness and thermal and sound insulation are located on the floors. They are each composed of a fixed sidelight and an inward-opening side-hung casement, including 90 accessible casement doors which open onto the balconies and the loggias between the façade and the metal exoskeleton. 40 double-leaf outward-opening WICSTYLE 65 HI doors (1.40 m passage width x 2.50 m height) complete this opening system painted in grey (RAL 7021). The completed Palazzo Méridia in all its beauty is evidence of the challenge taken up by Nexity Ywood when it was founded ten years ago. Here, wood shows its importance as a low-carbon building system in combination with other materials. It also signals the advent of a new generation of distinguished buildings at the service of users, linking low tech and smart green integration with its surrounding.