ARCHITECTURE: BIG Ideas in Paris
by Raymond Herrera
How do you program for a dense European metropolitan area, provide glimpses of different European regions in a modern setting, and maintain an open park space? BIG(Bjarke Ingels Group), Copenhagen and New York based group of architects, designers, builders and thinkers, have been selected to design such an urban center in Europa City – a themed shopping and leisure complex with a park on its roof which aims to reflect the diverse cultures of the European continent.
Retail and entertainment businesses will be arranged along a circular avenue, which splits a canyon of storefronts and bridges through five themed areas under a park. The sections named after the European regions are Avenue de France, Rambla de Mediterranea, British Square, Norden Platz and East Boulevard. Of course France gets it’s own section. One can argue the entire park could be divided into five sections of France, but the developer, French retail chain Auchan, thought to celebrate the diversity of the entire continent instead.
BIG says of the avenue: “…bicycles and electric public transport bring visitors around and a line of trees transform gradually from Birches in the North, Pines in the east, palm trees in the south and Platans in the west. The circular avenue creates a variety of spatial experiences and a clear overview – it allows you to get lost, and still find your way.”
Europa City will be located in the Triangle de Gonesse – an area southwest of Charles de Gaulle International Airport and north of the smaller Le Bourget Airport that links the two. It will include evironmentally concious technologies such as using waste heat from cooling plants to heat swimming pools, recycling waste water to irrigate the parks, and installing solar, wind and geothermal energy.
Florida, I know you’re drooling. Golf on top, Starbucks and Denny’s below? One day.
You can find out more about the project here. All images courtesy of BIG.