The project involves the redevelopment and upgrading of an Auchan shopping centre, dating from 1981, in the commune of Saint-Priest, in the inner suburbs of Lyon. It is the first step in the plans for the urban renewal of the whole of the Porte des Alpes district, home to tertiary business and industrial zones, and a Technology Park, to be completed by 2020.
The existing shopping centre will undergo an architectural facelift ensuring an improved harmony with its surroundings, the interiors will be refurbished, and exteriors landscaped. The proposals aim to open up the rather inward-looking and isolated site in order to create links with the wider urban landscape of the city.
The 32ha site, straddling the communes of Bron and Saint-Priest, to the south-east of the centre of Lyon, is very well served by public transport. Situated on the main A43 artery, adjacent to Lyon Technology Park, it benefits from bus and tram routes.
Auchan hypermarket has undergone several extensions in the last 20 years, and, despite its commercial viability, was looking rather dated and in need of a facelift. The architectural solution employs panels of coloured polycarbonate attached to the facades in sequences around the perimeter of the building, unifying the whole and creating a cohesive identity.
The northern facade facing the motorway is composed of a collection of coloured boxes, set against the existing backdrop painted in a palette of dark greys, which breaks up the linear nature of the building. From the motorway, the planting of embankments forms a screen behind which the facade reveals itself. The boxes are lit from behind by a dynamic lighting installation which provides an animated and changing appearance at night, and, in this way, the building presents a true urban street frontage, and engages in a dialogue with its context.
The main entrances on the southern and south-western facades, are easily recognisable by their height and shape, and by the presence of large LED display screens. The large vertical architectural polycarbonate panels, used for the facades, range in colour from white to glacier blue in reference to the name ‘Porte des Alpes’. The ochre colour brings a warm touch to the cool effect.
The theme adopted for the exterior is carried through to the interior of the shopping arcade to reinforce the idea of continuity between the outside and inside. The coloured ‘boxes’ provide an upbeat and welcoming image to the visitors entering the building, immersing them in coloured light until they reach the arcade. They provide a recognisable feature to aid orientation during the day, and become a beacon at night. The approach towards lighting of the interiors has been carefully considered to maximise the use of natural light by means of large skylights above the length of the two-storey arcade. Artificial lighting, in the form of large connected rings, punctuate the lower storey. Seating areas and multimedia information points are located at frequent intervals along the shopping routes.
The landscaping approach
Apart from the refurbishment of the shopping centre itself, the aim of the project is to integrate the site into the city’s urban fabric. The approach adopted by Greater Lyon is to take advantage of unbuilt sites on which to organise and direct future development. Thus, a network of green spaces in the Technology Park forms part of the ‘nature in the city’ initiative. These green spaces are continued and extended into the heart of the Immochan site by means of existing green alleys leading from Boulevard André Boulloche to the shopping centre. These alleys are lined with Hornbeam, which are preserved and enhanced by the planting of complimentary species of trees and perennials. Planted oases with wooden bench seating punctuate other pedestrian routes providing places to sit in the shade.
The enlarged shopping centre forecourt is transformed into a convivial public square, using urban street furniture including ‘ribbons’ of wooden benches and tables, and curving perforated steel canopies. The ground is decorated in a playful way with a graphic design suggestive of printed circuit boards, integrating strips of planting.
– Client: Immochan
– Architect and team representative: Arte Charpentier Architectes
– Title: La Porte des Alpes
– Address: Champ du Pont development zone
– Postcode: 69800
– Commune: Bron
– Estimated date of completion: 2018
– Programme: Shopping centre refurbishment
– Estimated area: 30 000 m²