Center for research in nanosciences and nanotechnologies / CNRS
Technical sheet

Center for research in nanosciences and nanotechnologies / CNRS

Palaiseau - Plateau de Saclay

The game of scales

The compactness, the extreme purity of the sketch made by the architect respond to the cramped nature of the building space. In tribute to research on the infinitely small, the beauty of its simple line deliberately erases the scale of the body but reveals a rigorously framed internal structure. The complexity and thoroughness of the work carried out inside is thus sheltered in a building with a deliberately serene architecture, with obvious functionality.

An intangible object simulating weightlessness, this site is preparing to weigh heavily in the development of the Saclay plateau.


With its clean room of 3,000 m² of useful surface - soon to be one of the largest in France - the grouping of technological and human resources of the Institute of Fundamental Electronics and the Laboratory of Photonics and Nanostructures, the Ile-de-France power plant of Center for nanosciences and nanotechnologies will be the most important academic center of the national territory.

Three "pillars" support the architectural philosophy of this temple of research

Impeccably "clean", dedicated to the invisible materiality, the building is displayed as an emblem of high technology. While it is a great rational working tool - capable of protecting research against vibrations and magnetic fields - it also offers an ergonomic and user-friendly space to the C2N scientific community.

Like a living artery, its research stream brings together all the laboratories and the clean room. Punctuated by patios bathed in light, it plays the role of a "domestic agora" for these places isolated from the outside world and brings them the serendipity expected by researchers.


“From a distance, the building covered with screen-printed glass creates the illusion of escaping the laws of gravitation. The juxtaposition of volumes without apparent contact creates a subtle ambiguity of scales. "

Fiche Technique

New-build/Public Operation


Construction cost
€ 77,8 Million, excluding tax

Net floor area
18 000 m2

2013 – 2018


Clean room (2,900 m² useful), laboratories and offices (6,996 m² useful), training room (214 m² useful), administration rooms (1,485 m² useful), logistics and maintenance premises (545 m² useful), reception (1,256 m² useful), 232 parking spaces.

Team members



Landscape architect
Signes paysages

Acoustic engineer
Alhyange acoustique


Electromagnetic consulting

Synthèse BIM 


Credits : Doug & Wolf, Sergio Grazia