Here’s a look at eight of the buildings that will make up the BIG-masterplanned EuropaCity district, set to be built on the outskirts of Paris.
UNStudio, Atelier COS and Hérault Arnod Architectes are among the European firms that have been selected to design buildings for the sprawling new leisure district, which is planned for an 80-hectare site near Charles de Gaulle International Airport.
BIG was appointed masterplanner of the EuropaCity complex by the property subsidiary of French retail chain Auchan back in 2013.
At the time the practice said: “EuropaCity will offer on an unprecedented scale a mix of retail, culture and leisure around a defining theme: Europe, its diversity, its urban experiences and its cultures.”
The Bjarke Ingels-led firm envisioned a complex themed around the concept of “rolling hills”, set amidst a grassy parkland.
Competitions were then organised to find designers for the various buildings that will make up the complex – apart from one, which BIG is designing itself.
With the designs of all main buildings now announced, here’s a closer look at each one:
Contemporary circus by Clément Blanchet Architecture
Parisian architecture firm Clément Blanchet Architecture won the competition to design a performance venue for the development, seeing off competition from Bernard Tschumi and Moreau Kusunoki Architectes.
A roof stretching between tent poles of varying heights will evoke the nostalgia of a circus big top. Open at ground level to connect with a plaza, a platform level will host seating for 1,500 people.
Concert hall by Hérault Arnod Architectes
Pantin-based Hérault Arnod Architectes won the contest to design a 7,000-seat music venue, beating entries from AL_A and CAAU.
A series of horizontal and inclined levels will lead visitors from the main street behind the venue through and down to the outdoor auditorium. Slim white columns support the roof, which will overhang the outdoor stage. Atop the roof, circular canopies will shelter another public space.
Selected over entries from Manuelle Gautrand and Peripherals, Dutch architectural studio UNStudio won the competition for the development’s cultural centre with their design that features a rooftop open air cinema with sweeping views over the French capital.
Three intersecting volumes clad in rust-coloured weathering steel will house multiple indoor cinema screens, as well as onsite training and production studios for film and TV.
Three star hotel by Atelier(s) Alfonso Femia
Italian architecture firm Atelier(s) Alfonso Femia is to design an affordable three-star hotel for EuropaCity.
The design for a multi-story building, with a glazed facade under a humpback roof, won against designs from Jérôme de Alzua and Basalt.
Five star hotel by Atelier COS
Parisian architecture firm Atelier COS was chosen to build the development’s five-star luxury hotel. The practice was up against entries from Dominique Perrault Architecture, Stefano Boeri Architetti and La Cime Architectural Design.
Designed to evoke the area’s agricultural history, the architects have promised “fireflies, rooftop fields and a bamboo-covered atrium”. Renders show a series of glowing translucent cubes set into a sloping, flower-covered hill overlooking the city.
Four star hotel and convention centre by AAVP Architecture
The conference centre will be encircled by a ring of slim vertical louvres described by the architects as the “exoskeleton of a sleeping mythical animal”. Above, a cluster of house-like gabled roofs will form the 500-room hotel.
Four star hotel and children’s cultural centre by Franklin Azzi Architecture
The glazed facade of the centre looks out over a plaza and a park, while the upper levels that form the hotel will be cloaked in greenery and shaped like mountain peaks.
Water park hotel by Chabanne Architecte
Expanding on the “rolling hills’ concept of BIG’s masterplan, contoured stacked and staggered towers rise like eroded canyon walls above a series of pools and waterfalls, flanked on one side by swooping water slides.
Exhibition hall by BIG
Not one of the design competitions but a new design, BIG has re-worked plans for the entrance to the train station to feature an exhibition hall.
The hall will form a pedestrian gateway to EuropaCity. Renders show a raised walkway on fluted columns planted with trees passing through a tunnel formed of curving arches.
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