The design firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), along with a few added team members (Tess, Transsolar, Base, Transitec, and Michel Forgue) have won first place in a competition to design an experimental “urban center” in France called EuropaCity. Located in Île-de-France, the wealthiest and most populous region in France, EuropaCity is intended to be a center of culture and retail, combining all sorts of experimental sustainable technologies.
But as a design–and a pretty spectacular one at that–it’s best experienced through images. Click through to the gallery to see and read more about the proposal!
Click to launch the gallery.
A Commercial City
EuropaCity wouldn’t be a “city” in the sense we think of it; instead, it’d be a commercial city, designed as a sort of destination for people who live nearby. Those would include retail, entertainment, and cultural elements, from spas to shops to concert halls.
The proposal has multiple levels; on top is “an accessible green roof with recreational areas, hiking paths and urban farming,” according to BIG.
Parts of the design make it feel closer to some kind of futuristic mall than a “city.” According to BIG, “EuropaCity is organized along an internal circular avenue of retail, entertainment and cultural programs. Along the avenue bicycles and electric public transport bring visitors quickly around.” You can see that central avenue here.
Sustainable energy is a major focus of EuropaCity. Says BIG: “Waste heat from retail is channeled into leisure spas, water is re-used as irrigation for the parks, and EuropaCity will be providing the surrounding neighborhoods with district heating and cooling. The entire facility is designed to be powered with a combination of solar, biofuel and geothermal energy.”
Let’s Go To EuropaCity!
Aside from a showcase for new technologies, EuropaCity also seems like it’s designed to take all of the parts of Paris that are less aesthetically appealing and move them elsewhere. “Modern Paris is a city in two parts,” says BIG. “The central iconic Paris–the most visited city in the world, famous for its monuments. And the suburban Paris–a landscape of efficiency: Large housing complexes, big box retail and industries.”
The shape is very intentional. The circular loop was decided upon first, and the remainder of the design stemmed from that. The BIG team calls this a “soft triangular geometry that preserves the programmatic loop advantages and enhances the surrounding site qualities.”
The theme of the design is, well, “Europe.” Each “neighborhood” of EuropaCity is named after some European landmark, be it La Rambla or British Square. .
EuropaCity would be situated on 80 hectares–that’s about 0.3 square miles–in Île-de-France, with a view of Paris’s skyline. Halfway between Paris and Charles de Gaulle Airport, it’s an ideal spot for this kind of commercial city.