Located in the region of Minhang, to the southwest of Shanghai, China, this Saint-Gobain R&D centre, is composed of two distinct parts: a showroom and laboratories.
The showroom, which includes conference, exhibition and reception rooms, are housed within a curving shell of finely-wrought glass supported on a lightweight steel structure. The glass pavilion is reflected in a pool of water, at the heart of a garden of meta-sequoias. At the upper level, a glass floor increases the luminosity of the internal volumes, and the subtle inclination of the glass envelope, allows light to permeate the space more deeply.
In contrast to the transparency of the Showroom, the laboratories project an image of sobriety, thanks to the use of an architectonic concrete structure. The naturally-lit research and development areas are arranged on two levels, on either side of a top-lit inner ‘street’, leading, at its end, to the glass pavilion. The interiors favour the use of natural materials such as wood, which is found on floor surfaces and stairs.
It is how the inward and outward-looking spaces complement each other that gives the project its originality and enables it to integrate with the site.
This is one of the major R&D centres of Saint-Gobain worldwide, located in the Minhang Development Zone, at the heart of its Shanghai industrial site. Six neighbouring plants are involved in performance plastics, glass for automotive use, Abrasives and Ceramics. The centre hosts scientists in almost all advanced material sciences from ceramics to polymers, crystals to abrasives, inorganic grains & powders to refractories.
– Client: Saint Gobain China
– User: Saint Gobain China
– Architect: Arte Charpentier Architectes
– Structural: MMA
– Building services – fluids: MMA
– Electrical building services: MMA
– Quantity surveyor: MMA
– Inspection: Jianli Chinois
– CSPS : Jianli Chinois
– Address: 45 Wen Jing Road, Minhang, Shanghai
– City: Shanghai
– Completion: 2008
– Project programme: Physics and chemistry laboratories, exhibition hall, administrative offices, training room
– Surface area: 8000m²
– Particularity: double-glazed curved glass roof
Photo credits : Didier Boy de la Tour