L’école de Fontainebleau a fêté ses 90 ans !

09.03.2014  Enseignement / Exposition

Tower base, sketching issues thought

Full name

Year that you attended Fontainebleau
I attended the Fontainebleau American School of Arts in 1985.

University where enrolled while at Fontainebleau
I graduated from the University of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA in 1988.

One-line description of your current career
Founder of Atelier Tom Sheehan & Partenaires

Explanation of how Fontainebleau has influenced your work or life
The short summer in 1985 went by so far I had little time to realize the impact it would have on my life and career as an architect. Many of the fleeting impressions, encounters and experiences remain however engraved in my thought. At Fontainebleau, a musician teaches his hands to play a partition and then closes his eyes and plays by heart.

Pictured : One image representing my work as a professional
Title of the work : Tower base, “sketching issues thought”

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our approach to stadium renovation

02.03.2014  R&D

What makes renovation exciting is its power to transform and regenerate. Understanding its past, heritage and legacy as well as ambition of the owners and users is crucial. For the architect, it is an opportunity to help develop the identity of the Club and the City in which it is housed. Our scope of action ranges from improving efficiency, comfort and security to increasing capacity when and where needed. The redesign must contribute to building a lasting “mark” and making the difference.

A simple idea can often have an important impact on both the stadium’s quality as well as its revenues. It can be reorganising spectator flow to liberate areas, creating and improving hospitality facilities, modifying the pitch altitude to increase either capacity and/or improve spectator sightlines, redesigning the players’ interview space and mixed zone in order to improve the televised image, or enhanced the exterior architectural lighting to embellishes the stadium’s iconic value as a civic landmark.

The largest and most important modifications often address security, accessibility and stadium safety in general.  These types of fundamental improvements are to be treated with particular attention. They need to be planned very carefully and well ahead. Professional consultancy is essential to analyse design options, cost and maintenance issues. It is easier to associate these works with upgrading hospitality facilities, annexing real-estate development, searching for new sponsoring and naming rights to help finance these needed improvement.

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La tour D2, cucurbitacée ou coléoptère ?

01.03.2014  Croquis / Projets


Cactus urbain, concombre de ville, cornichon, gherkin ou autres condiments cucurbitacées, la tour à l’origine baptisée « D2 » risque de passer par de nombreux surnoms plus ou moins flatteurs, avant qu’elle ne prenne le nom d’une société prestigieuse qui aura la chance de l’adopter. On n’a pas ou peu entendu parler d’elle ces six dernières années. Puis, tout à coup, à peine sur le point d’être érigée, elle est assaillie de surnoms pittoresques. Les Anglais, avec leur fairplay légendaire, lui trouvent déjà une « French Touch ». Au risque que l’un de ces surnoms lui colle à la peau, avant l’heure du sacre, il me semble urgent de lui octroyer un nom provisoire plus consensuel et politiquement correct.

Pourquoi certains projets, et les tours en particulier, héritent spontanément de surnoms ? Est-ce dû à leur taille ou leurs auteurs ? Non, je pense simplement que ce sont leurs formes. Voilà ! On a mis le doigt dessus. Avec une certaine pudeur, nous allons nous focaliser sur l’extrémité supérieure caractérisant l’édifice et, sans doute, source du débat. Notre tour est coiffée de fins cerceaux entrelacés, surmontée d’un jardin exceptionnel dit « des nuages » et elle brille d’un vif éclat telle une lanterne. Il me fait penser à quelque chose de délicat et d’élégant, quelque chose à la fois organique et naturel, aussi bien vivant que lumineux. Pourquoi ne pas l’appeler La Luciole, ce coléoptère bien aimé de tous. Cette tour ne prétend pas être la plus haute, ni la plus visible. Elle revendique plutôt sa discrétion et son originalité et, avant tout, dégage un certain rayonnement.

En tant que co-auteur du projet, je devrais me contenter du fait que l’on parle d’elle, mais je ne peux pas m’empêcher de proposer une sortie plus digne aux diverses spéculations. Dans l’espoir que ce surnom, « la Luciole de La Défense »  retienne votre attention, je reste devant ma planche à dessins pour étudier encore d’autres objets sans nom.

Tom Sheehan, Architecte


Urban cactus, city cucumber, pickle, gherkin or any other cucurbit… The Tower, originally named “D2” might get many more or less flattering nicknames before a prestigious company acquires it and gives it a proper name. For the last eight years, we scarcely heard about D2. Then suddenly, when the tower is finished – it begins receiving picturesque nicknames. The English, thanks to their legendary fair play, dub the new building the “French Touch”. Before one moniker or the other gets widely used, and before, D2 is allowed to have its day in the sun – it seems urgent to me to give it a temporary name that would be moreflattering and of course politically correct.

Have you ever noticed an inherently arresting building (or tower in particular) without stopping to wonder about its “name”? Do you think it is due to their size? Or perhaps their authors? No. I believe their shapes simply lead to their various nicknames. Here we are! With a touch of humility, let’s focus on the uppermost extremity of thenew tower that defines it and is probably the source of its silly labels.

Look closely – our Tower is sheathed in slender intertwined hoops, crowned with an extraordinary “garden in the clouds” and glows brightly like a lantern at night. It makes me think of delicate and elegant things; natural and organic; lively and luminous. Why not call it The Firefly, the well-liked beetle? This tower doesn’t pretend being the highest or the most visible.It discreetly prides itself in being a glowing and original addition to the Parisian skyline.

As co-author of the project, I should be pleased that people are talking about it – still I can’t help suggesting a more worthy nickname. Here’s hoping the “Firefly of La Défense” catches your eye! Now back to my drawing board to work on other yet nameless constructions.

Tom Sheehan, Architect

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