In the summer of 2022, Archipress Éditions is publishing a special issue of L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui devoted to La Poste Immobilier – its history, its projects and their challenges. A selection of projects, both new constructions and renovated buildings, are presented in the pages of this publication. Interviews with those who lead the actions of La Poste Immobilier (Philippe Bajou, Rémi Feredj, Dang Tran and Camille Gehin) and some architects with whom they have recently collaborated (Roland Carta, Dominique Perrault and Anne Speicher) punctuate this special issue and provide food for thought on the noblest meaning of the profession of project owner.
In France, La poste Immobilier is known as the property operator of the La poste Group since 2005. Owner and manager of 6 million square metres of property, La Poste Immobilier is, by its size and history, a key player in the development of the French territory.
"Our challenge has therefore been to guarantee buildings’ plasticity in the face of constant change. During the 1950s and 1960s, for instance, we would tend to build along vertical lines, focusing on large sorting tables that were still being operated manually at the time. Later, during our industrialisation phase, we began designing large horizontal surfaces. Of course, it raises questions today about the wisdom of building on heretofore undeveloped land, causing us, surprisingly, to reconsider the verticality of our activities. The revolution is permanent because societal change is our core concern." Philippe Bajou (Chairman of La Poste Immobilier, Secretary General and Deputy Director General of La Poste Group)
La Poste Immobilier does not only manage post offices: its assets include remarkable architecture, as well as logistics platforms, offices and industrial buildings, not to mention the conversion of buildings into housing or senior citizen residences.
"La Poste was the first to integrate functional and social diversity into its buildings. These remain our values but they are also a challenge we must overcome. The modern era has opened a new frontier in that respect. Our buildings must be repurposed and their uses renewed." Rémi Feredj (Managing Director of La Poste Immobilier)
Anchored in French history, La Poste Immobilier is one of the few operators to work as a true public works commissioner, as stipulated by the law of January 3rd, 1977. Here is what its first article says: “architectural creation, the quality of constructions, their harmonious integration into the surrounding environment, respect for natural or urban landscapes as well as for heritage are of public interest. the authorities authorised to issue building permits and subdivision authorisations shall ensure, during the examination of applications, that this interest is respected.” About the delicate art of the public interest.
Text: Emmanuelle Borne