In 1963 the French company SAPIC (Société d’Application des Produits Industriels Chimiques) deciced to move to Nogent sur Oise to epxand their facilities. They acquired a plot on the river and constructed a plant that produced foundry materials and chemicals, several warehouses, and a magnificent building, housing the laboratory, refectory, a meeting room, and several offices. The factory and most of the warehouses are gone, but the office building remains, now dubbed “Studio Sapique”.
The building was conceived in 1965, but its origins date back to the 1930s. Architect Carl André was inspired by the famous Villa Savoye by Le Corbusier, and it shows the Five Points of Architecture as the master dictated. The main structure consists of two slabs of concrete, suspended by five steel towers. A ground floor in wood and reflecting glass create the illusion of a floating structure, surrounded by green. For the second floor, André has chosen to create floor-to-ceiling glass facades, at the extremes of what was technically possible at the time. He composed a rythm of narrow and wide windows that reflect the chosen floor plan.
The building’s interior revolves around a unique staircase. Designed and built by CTSI (now Metalesca), this marvel in reinforced concrete is exemplary for its epoch by its form, the choice of materials (concrete, brass, cords, etc.), its durability… The steps are perfectly balanced on a central axis, which never touches the floor, suspended by two pillars. Its curves are gracious as well as ergonomic.