When the Carlyle Group bought 32 rue Blanche in Paris, France, in 2007, this vast “urban industrial building” was abandoned. Architect Franck Hammoutène wished to reveal the potential of this building, encased within the size of a city block, by bringing out the modularity of its structure, the transparency and luminosity of its skin, the clarity of its spatial layout. In the centre of this block, within the inside patio, a Mantilla that takes the shape of a volute of glass disks extending over a height of eight floors, from the ground floor up to a 1,000 sq. metre terrace offering a 360° view of Paris. The initial static assumption comprises abandoning the principle of building a rigid structure to resort to a system of cables so as to preserve the immaterial character of the mechanism. The Mantilla is a tensioned stainless-steel cable structure. It is 32 metres high and weighs 32 tonnes, suspended from the top and pre-stressed by a moving ring at is base.
The convex shape at the rear of the Mantilla is obtained by the combination of cable geometry and the hollow tubular backbone as well as the actual weight of the entire assembly. The double surface curve is generated in all points by reversing the direction of the curvature along the circle plane, yielding the “tear drop” effect visible at the lower Mantilla attachment level. The Mantilla’s total height is 32 metres.
Skin and glass roof
Material and construction systems
Glass, Steel frame
France, Paris (FR-75)
Structural design stages, Working and Shop drawings
AFH Franck Hammoutène
Amount of work
Thomas Goldet, C&E