Tim started with the story of the building's genesis, beginning in 1998 when it was referred to as the Laboratory Office Building.
Moving into a new office building can be as exciting as moving into a new house. You look at the blueprints, browse the photo albums and imagine how different your life—or work—will be in a new environment.
ITER staff members experienced some of this excitement last Thursday 29 March as Tim Watson, head of Buildings & Site Infrastructure, took the Inside ITER audience on a virtual tour of the new ITER Headquarters—part of it in 3D.
Tim started with the story of the building's genesis, beginning in 1998 when it was referred to as the Laboratory Office Building. It was originally designed to accommodate 750 people ... then it was "significantly shrunk" in 2004 to provide workspace for about 200 permanent and 100 visiting staff ... then resized again to fit ITER's anticipated needs, and budget.
The architectural approach has also changed over time. Back in 2004, the ITER Organization planned a no-thrill design, "comparable with [that of] industrial or commercial support facilities." Four years later, the tide had changed and a young and daring Marseille architect, Rudy Ricciotti, won the architectural competition organized by Agence Iter France and the European Domestic Agency.
The building Ricciotti and his local partner Laurent Bonhomme designed is functional with a touch of originality. All offices come with floor-to-ceiling windows; those on the northwest side opening to a magnificent landscape of wooded hills and Provençal villages, while those on the other side have a no-less-impressive view of the ITER installations.
Five-storey light shafts running the length of the building will bring natural light to every floor. A large wooden terrace, directly connected to the cafeteria, will offer the permanent temptation of a quick stroll or a coffee break.
The building will provide office space for 500 staff and contractors, but discussions are already ongoing about an extension for an extra 350 people.
Moving day is scheduled in October. Once the ITER Headquarters building is complete, no staff member or contractor will remain on the CEA site. ITER will be at home in its own enclosure, part of the staff moving to Headquarters, others to the present temporary office buildings.