IBM Research Center

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IBM Research Center

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Photographs   107  browse all »

Construction Photograph: Panoramic View of Facade
Construction Photograph: Panaoramic View of Facade
Construction Photograph: View of Crane

Drawings   46  browse all »

Bicycle Shed, Plan and Elevation
Presentation Set: Preliminary
Upper Floor Framing Plan (No. SK-S-1)

Correspondence   2  browse all »


The commission to design a new laboratory and office building for IBM on a rocky, uneven site near the Côte d’Azur in France came to Breuer at the recommendation of Eliot Noyes, a former of employee of Breuer’s who also served as IBM’s Consultant Director of Design. The building Breuer and his partner Robert Gatje created was one of the most iconic of his modular precast concrete panel designs. The double y-shaped building featured two stories of deeply recessed windows raised on muscular pilotis that branched into three arms where they supported the upper floors. The narrow ends of the floors were screened with terra cotta flue tiles turned on their sides, a technique Breuer had been using since his project for Hunter College. The innovative plan was a modification of the double y-shaped office buildings of the Garden City of the Future and allowed all of the interior spaces to have access to natural light. The pilotis also allowed the building to respond to the uneven grade as the height of the shaft could be adjusted to the terrain. Laboratories occupied the second floor while the first floor contained offices, an auditorium, a kitchen, cafeteria and dining terrace. The building was completed in a mere two years due to prefabrication of elements that took place on the site. IBM was extremely pleased with building, which was meant to house 600 people, and hired Breuer’s firm to design two expansions along with their Administrative, Laboratory and Manufacturing Facility in Boca Raton. In 1968, the French government declared the IBM complex a national monument and in 1976, it was awarded the Grande Médale d’or as an “outstanding example of contemporary architecture in France.