A multi-functional space with a flexible layout that inverts the rules of shopping malls by replacing corridors with native vegetation woods and placing small buildings inside a green park. With open floor plans and truly public spaces, low construction cost and environmental impact, it puts the focus back onto nature and people. The deep interdependency between architecture, landscape and urban planning creates a synergy between all its human, constructive, natural and economic components.
It is a commercial and service center compound with four blocks, two floors each, divided into multifunctional spaces. At start they hold 3,150 m2 shops area and 2,100 m2 offices area, varying numbers depending on demand, and 300 parking lot spaces at ground level. All of this generously distributed on a 24,000 m2 plot.
Explaining the project is actually very simple, it begins with shops on the ground floor, with an "entrance" open court designed to host bars and restaurants that can stay open late, an upper floor with has a big deck with restaurants, and offices which are not accessible to the public, so you must pass through a recepcion to access them. A central "circulation hub" connects everything with a ramp and an elevator.
The project is based on the principle of spending less, both in natural and economic resources, and tries to be a game changer in the overpriced ecological solutions market. It seeks a balance between the intentionally simple architectural concept and the deployment of the buildings, which ensures a wide variety of paths and public spaces, designed to host a rich landscape, providing a daily experience of how nature impacts people’s lives, with a sense of welcome and well-being.
This exploded configuration gives a very dynamic character of the project and its many anchors to the surroundings. Combined with a mix of small, intimate spaces, bigger open gardens, little corners between two courts, coffee-breaks in the middle of your shopping parcour, roof terraces, decks, bridges, etc; there are many entrances, many connections, and, although the spatial organization might seem cahotic, very fluid circulation paths. All spaces are conceived to be public or semi-public, all to be easily "owned" by the public.
The buildings themselves are very simple by intent. It is an attempt to keep the general budget as low and under control as possible, to be able to invest more on specific items, such as the metallic parts or the vegetation, and because the architects and the clients all have a same desire to prove that we can do quality spaces with a low budget. This discrete architecture leaves the principal part to the shops, the offices, the people who visit or work there and the nature that will occupy the space provided and turn it into a unique and lively atmosphere.
The project, instead of delivering a finite product, provides a “living structure”, in all its many meanings: humans, nature, commerce and architecture all leave their footprints on its simple industrial concrete structure. At the same time, it is a skeleton supporting the different organs of a complex ecosystem, able to adapt and transform itself to new uses (shops, offices or even housing).
Instead of being just a consumer’s temple, it offers the visitor convenience, space to work or relax, gain new experiences and knowledge, through an invitation to circulate and discover, experiment, or simply watch the sunset. The architectural implementation intentionally offers these open and varied spaces created by the relationship between the buildings, the woods and the park, and the group and the city. It is a project that transcends the physical limits of their land, improving the entire surroundings life quality, whether in the social, ecological or even security field.
Although it is a private undertaking, it offers great and true public areas that are actually integrated into the existing public space, including bike lanes and sidewalks. It tries its best to create conditions for meeting people: it’s a several functions mix (shops, offices, park), the public square located at the entrance serves as a venue for events such as fairs or artistic presentations and it remains partially open at night when the public can enjoy a variety of restaurants and bars spaces. The synergy produced by this meeting gives people an environment where everyone gain. There are more public for shops and offices and users find a pleasant living environment and services range to enjoy. This synergy also produces a permanently busy environment, which makes it safer.
The impact of the project depends to a great extent on the people gathering around it: workers, consumers or passersby, their impressions and emotions. The intent of this construction is not to take resources from the city, but to give it a friendly and natural public space, where people can relax and feel comfortable. This synergy between people, architecture and nature, is the key to a bigger aim: to nurture and spread ecological concern and care, using each individual’s rewarding experience.
Urban and ecological benefits extend even to residents who are not direct users of the project, highlighting the region as a whole.