The elegant lines of the new Building 774

Prévessin will shortly see an addition to its stock of buildings. Functional, elegant and in compliance with the latest regulations regarding energy consumption, it will bring a modern touch to CERN’s French site.


In July Building 936, which was too small, run-down and no longer suitable for requirements, disappeared from the map of the Prévessin site. It will be replaced by a new building - numbered 774 - whose construction is due to commence in September. More functional, modern and economical in its energy consumption, the new building will house the BE Department’s Controls (CO) Group from the end of 2013.

Situated opposite the CERN Control Centre (CCC), this new four-storey building (basement, ground floor and two upper storeys), with over 3400 m² of usable space, will be capable of accommodating up to 110 people along with their laboratories, which means that the entire Controls Group can all be housed under one roof. With near-direct contact with the CCC, they will be ideally placed for the LHC re-start in 2014, following its first long shutdown. “This will be the first time since the CO Group’s creation that we will all be housed in the same building,” underlined Pierre Charrue of the Controls Group, who is responsible for the project. “Much of our history until now has been linked to Building 936, and now that building will give up its place to Building 774. It’s the end of an era!”

Building 774 will comprise over sixty offices, a dozen laboratories, several meeting rooms and a 140 m² auditorium for one hundred people. Michael Poehler, who is handling the project for the GS Department, points out: "The auditorium, which is on the ground floor, could be used for welcoming visiting groups as well as by CERN Users. Visitors and CERN employees will be able to relax in the adjoining cafeteria, where Novae will sell snacks. A 'glass box' type restaurant on the first floor will be reserved for VIP visitors to the French site.” Pierre Charrue adds: “We tried to satisfy the needs expressed by the Controls Group’s members and those of all future users. This has required no less than 12 versions of the building layout! Now, with part of the first floor reserved for the offices of the BE Department’s management, Building 774 and the CCC will become a focal point of the Prévessin site.”

As regards its energy consumption, the new building will be in compliance with the latest French regulations on thermal insulation, and will be fitted with 300 m² of solar panels, designed on the basis of technology developed at CERN. "The solar panels will heat the offices in the winter and cool them in the summer," says Michael Poehler. “Depending on requirements, it will also be possible to heat the building using CERN’s heating system. The building’s façade and large bays of triple-glazed glass will be fitted with sun-shading to keep the interior well lit while preventing over-heating in summer and avoiding creating a greenhouse effect." The principle of sustainable development is also reflected in the decision to have part of the roof covered with vegetation, making it capable of absorbing a significant portion of rainwater.  This will not only enhance the building’s “green” credentials, but will also substantially enhance its insulation properties.

The layout of Building 774 will look like the Greek letter π. It will have a terrace next to the cafeteria and another on a section of the roof, and will be strategically sited opposite the CCC. With its elegant, contemporary architecture, the building will undoubtedly become a landmark on the Prévessin site, as can be seen in the three mock-ups.

by Anaïs Schaeffer