Tour Lopez – Headquarters of the DCNS

The renovation of the Lopez Tower, an emblematic building of 20th century heritage, required an exceptionally creative approach. The architectural intervention by Arte Charpentier and Dominique Hertenberger has preserved the existing key elements - the metallic structure and the spatial organisation -, whilst adapting it to current uses and regulatory conditions. The agency also designed the tailor-made layout of the interior spaces that house the headquarters of the DCNS.

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Type of project Renovation
Programme Offices
Contracting authority OGIC / BNP Paribas Immobilier
Architects Arte Charpentier, Dominique Hertenberger

Location Paris
Completion date 2009
Surface area 27 800m²
Environmental approach HQE

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The Lopez Tower is exceptional from an architectural, technical and urban point of view. The search for an open plan, the façade suspended from the top, and the use of a metal structure with wide cantilevers are proof that the architect was ahead of his time. It is an object of rare beauty.

Pierre Clément, President / Arte Charpentier

of internal spaces

It was about understanding the meaning of this emblematic building, a true manifesto of modern architecture.

Abbès Tahir, associate architect / Arte Charpentier

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Tour Lopez – Headquarters of the DCNS Paris, France - 2009


The Lopez Tower, designed in 1953 by Raymond Lopez, is an exceptional building that bears witness to the modern architecture of the 1950s. Remarkable for its constructive technique, this building was innovative in terms of metal structure construction.

The renovation of this building, historically known for having housed the Caisses d’Allocations Familiales, required an exceptionally creative approach. The architectural intervention implemented by Arte Charpentier and Dominique Hertenberger has preserved the existing key elements such as the metal structure and the spatial organisation of the building whilst adapting it to the current uses and regulatory conditions. This renovation extends the intentions outlined by Raymond Lopez, both in terms of visual and thermal comfort and in terms of the accentuation of space and light. This intervention features the “Lopez Tower” now called “Seine Panorama”, the headquarters of DCNS (Directorate of Naval Constructions).

The installation of the tower in the heart of a cluster was carried out with the aim of clearing the largest free area on the ground on rue Viala and rue du Docteur Finlay, in order to provide gardens and public access on the one hand, and services and access for staff on the other. These principles are maintained in the volumes selected, and the installation of separated housing plots on Rue Saint Charles makes it possible to reveal views of the tower and from the tower, while maintaining the architectural and urban continuity, thereby respecting Raymond Lopez’s project.

A transparency has been created between rue Viala and rue du Dr Finlay in order to identify the entrance hall, oval in shape and completely glazed, that is located under the renovated company restaurant, thereby contributing to the composition of the gardens designed by the Péna & Peña agency.

The primary metal frame, consisting of a column-beam system, is in perfect condition. The overhanging beams of the long walls are reinforced at the ends by metal suspension lines on the top floor in order to respond to the additional weight stresses due to the facade complex and the collaborating concrete floors.

The 8 levels of offices have been reconfigured into 7 floors, the last one being treated as a technical terrace. This development allowed the tower to lose its high-rise status.

The blueprint of the current floorplan is composed of a compact central core, clearing vast office spaces of landscaped and modular units lit naturally by a double-skin facade. The suspended ceiling follows the contour of the cantilever beams on the facade, thereby lightening the space. The principle of the suspended facade is maintained in its design to free the facade from any structural element.

A High Environmental Quality approach was pursued, mainly with regard to energy control, in order to reduce operating costs while ensuring optimal comfort for the occupants.

The concept of interior design for DCNS was based on the staging of DCNS models and prototypes by means of a personalised museography. The objective was to make the technological know-how of the shipbuilding directorate visible as soon as the visitor entered the building.

The contracting authority combined the talents of Véronique Sabatier, sculptor, with those of Arte Chapentier’s interior architects, to contribute to the development of the entrance hall and create a “luminescence wall”. This “living wall” creates a link between the exterior and the interior, the gardens and the building, and symbolically brings plant life into the entrance hall. Installed on the back wall of this hall, as an extension of the facade at the foot of the tower, it invites us to dream and prolongs the ambiguous, poetic and floating atmosphere of the gardens and external mists.

The restaurant keeps its exterior appearance with its large windows that overlook the garden to the south (rue Viala side) and the courtyard to the north (rue du Doctor Finlay side). Skydomes on the roof provide the interior space of the restaurant with a diffused, zenithal light.

The design of the furniture, created in 2009 to adapt to the contemporary functioning of a company restaurant, sought to resonate with the freer rounded shapes already used by Raymond Lopez for the building, its equipment, its skydomes and its curved facades.

The space of the freed-up office floors enables great flexibility, opening up all of the possibilities of development: a large, free space, generously open, landscaped offices, personalised offices. The wide-open facades guarantee maximum natural light. The double wood-frame interior skin reinforces the perceived warmth.


Contracting authority
– Contracting authority: OGIC / BNP Paribas Immobilier
– Investor: Lassalle Investment
– Developer: OGIC / BNP Paribas Immobilier
– User: DCNS – Direction des Constructions Navales

Project management
– Architect: Arte Charpentier (Pierre Clément, Abbès Tahir, Jérôme Van Overbeke)
– Associated architect: Dominique Hertenberger
– Interior architecture: Arte Charpentier (Edith Richard)

– Layout: Agencement Paul Champs
– Landscaping: Pena & Peña
– Artist: Véronique Sabatier
– Lighting engineer: Speeg & Michel

Design office
– Structure: Betom & Scyna 4
– Façades: Roland Peltier
– Fluids: Barbanel
– Catering: Restauration Conseil
– Control office: Véritas

– Address: 40-42 rue du Docteur Finlay et 20-22 rue Viala 75015 Paris
– Environmental certifications: HQE
Photo credits: Vincent Fillon


Type of project Renovation
Programme Offices
Contracting authority OGIC / BNP Paribas Immobilier
Architects Arte Charpentier, Dominique Hertenberger

Location Paris
Completion date 2009
Surface area 27 800m²
Environmental approach HQE

Tour Lopez – Headquarters of the DCNS

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