It was in the context of an expert’s report that we were asked to visit 64 rue de Meaux in Paris regarding issues of defective glass-fibre-reinforced concrete panels. It was a good chance to meet again with Maria SALERNO and Bernard PLATTNER, friends and colleagues of Robert Jan when he was working at Renzo PIANO’s office. A return to our roots translated into an association between RPBW and OP-EN providing project management for the entire MMA building.
Regardless of the conflict situation surrounding the expert’s report, our first task was to determine and identify the structures that could be repaired and those requiring complete replacement. This arbitration work led us to replace all the panels in the stairwells (the largest) as well as the two accommodation façade panels.
Occupation of the premises meant that measures had to be taken for work on an occupied site, with the replacement of facade panels creating the façade of some of the accommodation units. With identical reproduction, the vibration-poured glass-fibre reinforced concrete panels 4.8 m x 2.8m represent another technical skill both in manufacture, wide-load transport and in their use, in particular with the presence of the occupants in the building.
Dominique STOEUX of the contractor company Betsinor, present from the beginning, admits that he never repeated the experience after that of 1990, but having already done it once, he would repeat the feat with an ATEx. Then, during our exchanges with Maria and Bernard, the topic of the street shop façades came up. Renzo PIANO was not satisfied with the result, it was necessary to offer to improve these façades and take the opportunity to deal with the crown of the entire building. We had to convince our client MMA that a simple makeover would not suffice but that it would be necessary to review the shops and in particular that the original sacrifice of an ordinary top floor couldn’t be sustained any longer. It is in such moments that there is strength in numbers, in particular when RPBW is involved! The discussion did not last very long. We economised by only treating the top floors of the buildings on the street.
So MMA accepted the architectural modifications to its buildings. This is a memorable site. The place is inhabited by architects who are aficionados of the work of Renzo PIANO, with whom we do work. Maria’s accommodation is to have its façade panelling replaced. Each loggia must be accessible in order to treat the interior surfaces of the panels… I was informed in real time of each change. It was this joint effort and in particular the respect of the contractor to the multiple constraints of our tender document to which we owe the refurbishment of this great building which won the Equerre d’argent prize in 1991..