PARIS – Necker Hospital, the oldest specialised paediatric clinic in the world, recently opened an extension dedicated to research and treatment of genetic diseases called the Imagine Institute. Designed by Ateliers Jean Nouvel and Valero Gadan Architectes, the building is located on the hospital campus in the heart of Paris’s left bank.
Although the building’s form conforms to the regulations stipulated in the 19th century by Baron Hausmann, the sharp crystalline edges, as well as the building’s all-glass façade strike a uniquely contemporary presence. Nouvel – well-known for his often highly-decorative façades – collaborated with graphic designer Hiroshi Maeda, who superimposed enlarged images of sequenced DNA strands, referring to the institute’s primary focus.
Seminar and meeting rooms along with informal, common spaces are located in the tall part of the building along the Boulevard Montparnasse. The patient treatment facilities, laboratories and individual offices are grouped around a naturally-lit atrium in a compact volume, which is slightly set back from the side street. The two volumes meet in a shard-like spire, culminating in a rooftop terrace that provides sweeping views of the city.