27-01-17 // BEHIND THE SKIN Under construction

View of the geothermal power station in Ivry-sur-Seine, Paris

To highlight the industrial heritage of the site and to make the beauty of the technical processes that happen inside of the geothermal station comprehensible and visually accessible to by-passers, we propose to dress the building entirely in glass. In this way the building gets in contact with passing people in a pedagogical way, teaching and informing them about how the geothermal technology works in the neighborhood. Whenever an interesting geothermal device is located behind the facade, we place transparent glass to make it visible, while the rest of the facade remains translucent.

Aerial view of the Ivry-Port district, 1946. ©Municipal Archives

The entire facade is created as homogeneous as possible to emphasize what is behind the skin and not what is on it. This is achieved by an incredible smooth facade that has a minimum of details. Where profiles or frames are necessary and unavoidable, they are covered by glass to create a bidimensional appearance. That kind if minimalism is used not only to reveal the interior qualities of the building and to open a dialogue with the immediate environment, but also to create a relationship between the building and the site.

Design steps


A skin that reveals the technical processes happening inside of the geothermal station

Accessible technology

The geothermal power station in its neighborhood

The distribution of the energy in the neighborhood

Construction site in December 2016

Title: Behind the Skin
Project: Facade of a geothermal power station
Date: January 2017
Type: Commissioned project
Location: Ivry-sur-Seine, Paris
Programme: Power station
Status: Under construction
Team: Bernd Upmeyer, Efrain Perez del Barrio, Albert Sánchez Perarnau,
Katerina Petrocheilou, in collaboration with STAR strategies + architecture