Building a new ready-mix concrete plant is an involved and complex undertaking - especially in the center of a city such as Paris. It has to meet all applicable environmental and health laws and requirements.
Mixed industrial and public use
The new depot replaces an old one. The Port Autonome de Paris, the authority in charge, sought to redevelop this riverside neighborhood by providing mixed industrial and public use: further development of the port while giving local residents better access to the riverbank.
LafargeHolcim Bétons agreed not only to completely revamp its equipment, but to build a unique plant that goes far beyond usual standards. To achieve this, LafargeHolcim commissioned the architectural firm of Althabegoity-Bayle to assist with design and construction supervision, to make sure that the project would appropriately fit into its urban context. The plant boasts some unusual and highly sophisticated design and environmental features.
The depot is equipped with purification tanks for optimum water management. Water used to wash stationary and mobile equipment is collected in these tanks, treated, and reused for washing. A recycling unit processes residual fresh concrete by separating the components for use in future batches. The water management system conserves natural resources, especially water, saving 100 liters of water per cubic meter of concrete produced.
Rainwater that falls on the site is collected in pavement gutters. It is treated to remove particles and oil, and then discharged into the Seine, perfectly clean. To eliminate the risk of accidental spills, no hydrocarbons or lubricants are stored on site. Additive containers sit in retention trays to control any spillage, and are elevated beyond the reach of floodwater.
Nighttime illumination of the depot not only provides security, but adds an artistic contribution to the neighborhood in the spirit of the city's improvement plan. The design and engineering was commissioned to nocturnal visual artist Franck Franjou, a building illumination specialist. Recessed spotlights wash the white aggregate hoppers. Rows of neon lights accent the office building and the mixer module. White light is emitted all night, giving the whole complex a reassuring level of light for passers by.
As the focus of the production process, the mixer module receives the most dramatic illumination. The translucent double-wall cladding of the structure is illuminated from within, creating a giant glowing "lantern" that reflects in the Seine. The lighting color changes with the season: blue in winter, green in spring, yellow in summer, and red in autumn. Coordinated with this, colored spotlights punctuate the four corners of the site, and softer white lights accent the office building on the quay side. This "light show" is on display every day, from twilight to midnight.
With all this lighting, electrical consumption comes to mind. The mixer module is illuminated with LEDs, which are five times more efficient than conventional lights. The extended service life of LEDs - 10 years or more - further reduces maintenance costs.
With a diverse range of merits - visual appeal, urban integration, efficient logistics, elegant water management, emissions control, and human and environmental safety - the plant demonstrates LafargeHolcim Bétons' collaboration with the community, environmental awareness, and future-oriented thinking. And it proves that, with careful design, a concrete depot can be a positive contribution to the urban environment.