Institute for Integrative Biology of the Cell | I2BC | CNRS
Technical sheet

Institute for Integrative Biology of the Cell | I2BC | CNRS

Under construction

A Glass Ship on the Horizon

Architects Nicolas Ragueneau and Antoine Roux combined their thoughts with those of Michel Rémon to restructure the site of the Institute for Integrative Biology of the Cell. How to shape the unity of the scientific site in its setting of plants? How to sublimate the steep slope of a site the land so as not to submit to it? “Quite simply” by blending into the hillside...

After renovating the disparate and scattered laboratories, the construction of a 10,000m2 "bridge building" connected all the pre-existing architectural elements. A masterly and minimalist way to remodel the buildings and landscape without overdoing things.

From Sky to Earth

Roofed with an intangible glass, the top floor creates an airy line that blends into the sky. It rises over five horizontal Corten steel strata that act as a sun screen. In intimate connection with the slope of the hill, these strong lines in warm colors outline contour lines and then end at basement level, espousing the green flow of grass in which the building blends.

In this way, landscape architect Laurence Jouhaud anchors the "ship-building" under its own waterline by placing an amphitheater of greenery at its base, a place of work and relaxation for the researchers.

Inside, the arrangement of patios and window wells – sociable spaces filled with natural light - softens the rigor of technical realities that involve precise, formally exact assemblies.

With a courtyard and a reception garden that add clear reference points to the building's visibility, the program attains its goal: it reinforces the pride of belonging felt by the scientific community which is evolving in this unique setting.

"The project's originality goes beyond its architecture: the quality of its rural ambiance contributes to the understanding of the site, and the creation of meeting places is a basis for its unity by bringing together researchers and visitors."   

Fiche Technique

New-build - restructuring / Public Operation

CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research)

Construction cost 
€ 45,4 million excluding tax

Net floor area 
28 722 m²  Total 
15 779 m²  New area 
12 943 m²  Restructured

2014 – 2017


- New-build and restructuring of existing buildings: laboratories, transversal platforms including spectroscopy laboratories, animal house (600 m² of useful floor area), virology, offices
- L2 biological confinement laboratories.

Team members

Lead Architect
Ragueneau & Roux

Associate architect

Landscape architect
Laurence Jouhaud

Engineering and Economist
IGREC Ingénierie


Transfer engineering



Studies + work site



Copyright: Cave Canem