The new AFD (French Development Agency) headquarters is located in a privileged place, both in terms of natural light and available facilities. The project, the result of a partnership between ARQBR and CoDA offices, seeks to enhance this potential, in harmony with the agency’s team demands. Thus, the architecture offers something beyond the mere efficient distribution of spaces: a space of quality, open towards the landscape, with propitious access to the reception of visitors.

Project Name: French Development Agency
Studio Name: ARQBR
Location: Brasília, Brazil
Photography: Joana França
Project size: 363
Completion Date: 2019

French Development Agency By ARQBR - Sheet1
Workstation ©Joana França

The new plant promoted the enlargement of the entrance hall, creating a solemn and independent reception from other circulation spaces. For this purpose, the width of the Passageway Hall, a multifunctional space, either as a private office, or as an environment that can be integrated to the central hall, from glass sliding doors, was taken advantage of. The main advantage of this gesture is the opening of the park’s landscape to the main entrance, a pleasant surprise to the visitor.

In the central circulation spaces, the existing ceiling was removed, exposing the ribbed slab, with the total right foot of 3.20m. The slab and other exposed installations were painted white, a solution that aims to differentiate the working spaces from the central, collective spaces, leaving the visitor a sensation of amplitude of the space due to its greater height. The different scales obtained by varying the right feet create a visual demarcation between public and private spaces.

From the entrance hall, two corridors give access to the work rooms. The narrowest, on the left, leads to the directors’ rooms. The wider one gives access, besides the rooms, to the employee’s common spaces – archive, pantry, break room, printing room. In this place, the great highlight goes to the design of the 6m long glued laminated plywood furniture with a sinuous design that from the variation of its height serves the functions of bench, reviewer, workbench and coffee bench. The furniture was executed with primacy by the local architect and artist Ricardo Theodoro, from Uso Atelier.

French Development Agency By ARQBR - Sheet2
Lobby Seating ©Joana França

The other furniture chosen is from Doimo Brasil, a furniture factory in Ribeirão das Neves. From there, we specified the tables of the passage room (Joy, Freijó and caramel leather), the meeting chairs and the pantry (Slim, Freijó), the side tables of the living spaces (Eclipse, Freijó), the seating of the reception (Evo, caramel leather) and the board (Myth, caramel leather), the meeting chairs and the pantry (Presto, caramel leather), and the coffee stools (Presto, caramel leather).

For the offices area, the project sought to respond to the demands arising from the French labor legislation, which requires a minimum of 8m² per employee in the work rooms, always with natural lighting, in addition to limiting the number of employees per room, avoiding the concept of “open offices”, common in current corporate architecture.

Therefore, it was chosen the alignment of the partitions in the part close to the management, aiming to make all the rooms rectangular, facilitating the proposition of the internal layout of the rooms and guaranteeing natural light to all the employees. This room layout allows greater flexibility in the future, should there be a need for employee relocation or team growth. Alberflex workstations were chosen because they present efficient and ergonomic solutions for the employees.

French Development Agency By ARQBR - Sheet3
Allied Space ©Joana França

The meeting room has a prominent location in the project and versatile solutions to meet all the demands of the Agency. The space has a flexible layout due to the use of a retractable partition that allows separation into two smaller meeting rooms or its integration for larger events. For this purpose, we have specified all tables with the same dimension (including the cup), in order to allow for varied arrangements internally.

Another highlight of the project is the acoustic comfort, thought during the choice of all materials. In all work rooms, a lining with removable mineral acoustic plates (Sonex) and partitions with acoustic filling (wool from pets bottles) was specified.

The ceiling of the meeting rooms was covered with Nexacustic slatted panel, just like the walls, aiming to highlight the material of these environments and ensuring good sound insulation during the meetings. The carpets used in the common areas (cobalt blue) and work rooms (gray) also help to reduce noise.


Rethinking The Future (RTF) is a Global Platform for Architecture and Design. RTF through more than 100 countries around the world provides an interactive platform of highest standard acknowledging the projects among creative and influential industry professionals.