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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Les Eléis, a shopping centre between sea and sky by Arte Charpentier Architectes & CALQ Architecture

October 10th, 2013 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: Arte Charpentier Architectes & CALQ Architecture

A new urban space open to the city. This project for restructuring an existing shopping centre built in 1977 responds to issues surrounding urban and landscape requalification and fits within a plan to redevelop the east side of the city. More than a shopping centre, the project involved creating a new urban space that attracts people to meet and visit, and that contributes to the expansion and enhancement of Cherbourg-Octeville.

Image Courtesy © Alain Caste

  • Architects: Arte Charpentier Architectes & CALQ Architecture
  • Project: Les Eléis, a shopping centre between sea and sky
  • Photography: Alain Caste
  • Project owner: CFA Grand Ouest – Groupe Financière Duval
  • Area: 40,000 m²

In addition, the project was intended to give a new image to the Bassins neighbourhood and create a point of linkage between the east and west sides of the city – between the Carnot neighbourhood and the historic city centre – so that the new neighbourhood would be integrated qualitatively and lastingly in the history of the city, its sailors, and its ships.

With these goals in mind, we conceived this project as an urban space open to a public square, some pools, and the city. More than a shopping centre, we created a facility by inventing a new aesthetic form.

A tubular gauze to capture light

Starting from the observation that retail has no pre-established form and wanting to break away from the constraints of an existing building that no longer fulfils its aesthetic and functional role, we created a “ship” designed for harmonious integration into the vast landscape of rock and sea.

Our restructuring and expansion of the existing commercial hub is a play on light, a series of folds, grids, and reflections, a custom-made cladding in which the constantly changing sky is mirrored. The building’s skin comes alive thanks to a semi-opaque fabric composed of thin aluminum and metal tubes that capture and interact with the light.

This exterior cladding offers depth in the reading of the façades, answering the criticisms often made about the opacity of the original building’s concrete wall.

A City Between Sea and Mountains

A new, asymmetrical silhouette – sometimes transparent, sometimes reflective – emerges, in dialogue with the Roule Mountain, and in harmony with the vista of the surrounding natural landscape in the background. A sign of the new in the city, the strength and modernity of its architecture speak of the future. Moored to the docks, in pink granite in the midst of the ships, at night it metamorphoses and sails away, evoking the idea of travel.

Arte Charpentier Architectes

Arte Charpentier Architectes is one of the top 100 architecture agencies in the World Architecture rankings. Founded in 1969, it has acquired an international reputation for the quality of its projects and its universal values. Creativity, discipline, teamwork, and professionalism have guided its development and are at the heart of the firm’s operations today. Arte Charpentier Architectes designs, builds, and rehabilitates head offices, industrial complexes (Centres R&D for LVMH, L’Oréal, Essilor), shopping centres (Les Saisons in Meaux, underway), cultural facilities, housing, and hotels. Among its most notable are projects : the Shanghai Opera House and the Météor station in Gare Saint-Lazare in Paris.

CALQ Architecture

Founded in 1990 by architects Jean-Philippe Le Boeuf and Emmanuel Quin, CALQ is composed of a multidisciplinary team of 50 architects and engineers. This cultural diversity enables CALQ to take on projects as architect, principal contractor, and project manager. Well known for its skills in major and complex rehabilitation projects, the firm works mainly on tertiary projects (Le Beauvaisis, first BBC building in Paris, head office of Crédit Coopératif in Nanterre) and commercial projects (Hermès Distribution, Nouveau Forum des Halles, and others). In parallel to its design activities, CALQ frequently collaborates with renowned architects to execute major projects (32 rue Blanche in Paris, Ateliers Hermès in Pantin, Campus EDF in Saclay, and others).

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Category: shopping center

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