BIG to design leisure district
on Paris outskirts

| 5 comments

BIG chosen for EuropaCity masterplan on Paris outskirts

News: Danish firm BIG has been selected to design an 80-hectare shopping and leisure complex with a park on its roof to serve a business district between two Paris airports.

EuropaCity 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 – and themed around the diverse cultures of the European continent.

BIG chosen for EuropaCity masterplan on Paris outskirts

"We propose to integrate the new facility in the surrounding business district as an urban form that combines dense city with open landscape," said BIG, referring to the grassy parkland that will cover the structure.

A mix of retail and entertainment offerings will be arranged along a circular, looping avenue, with bicycle lanes and electric public transport – seen in the image below as small white pods – enabling visitors to get around.

BIG chosen for EuropaCity masterplan on Paris outskirts

BIG also proposes to make EuropaCity a showcase for sustainable technology by using waste heat from cooling plants to heat swimming pools, recycling waste water to irrigate the parks and installing solar, wind and geothermal energy.

The masterplan was chosen from a shortlist of four, including Valode & PistreManuelle Gautrand and Snøhetta, by the property subsidiary of French retail chain Auchan.

BIG chosen for EuropaCity masterplan on Paris outskirts

BIG was one of 12 international firms recently shortlisted to design a new headquarters and visitor centre for the Nobel Prize in Stockholm, Sweden, while earlier in the year the studio was appointed to lead the redesign of the Smithsonian Institution campus in Washington DC – see all architecture by BIG.

Other projects recently announced in France include a masterplan for the south of Bordeaux by Dutch firm OMA and an apartment tower in Montpellier with rippling floor plates – see all architecture in France.

Images are by BIG.

Here's some more information from BIG:


EuropaCity will offer on an unprecedented scale a mix of retail, culture and leisure around a defining theme: Europe, its diversity, its urban experiences and its cultures. The site is exceptionally well connected: Locally as a main node on the Grand Paris Express Metro, regionally as entrance gate to the metropolitan area of Ile de France and internationally with its direct connection to the second largest airport in Europe. We propose to integrate the new facility in the surrounding business district as an urban form that combines dense city with open landscape, exploring the urban and green potentials of the site at once.

The programmes of EuropaCity are organised along an internal circular avenue with a mix of retail, entertainment and cultural programmes on both sides. The avenue forms a loop travelling through five different areas themed as the various regions of Europe, becoming the Rambla, the Regent Street and the Champs Elysees of EuropaCity. Along 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.

We propose to arrange the programmes according to energy and resource use, in order to maximise utilisation of waste products within a closed urban ecosystem. Waste heat is channelled from cooling plants into recreation facilities as swimming pools and spas. Waste water is re-used as irrigation for the parks, and urban scale recycling facilities minimise overall waste production. The five regions of Europe have a different ways of harvesting renewable energy, from solar power to wind and geothermal energy. EuropaCity becomes a laboratory for sustainable technologies, and a showcase for viable green tech implementations that does not only save energy, but also improves the quality of the urban environment.

Partner in charge: Bjarke Ingels, Andreas Klok Pedersen
Project leader: Joao Albuquerque, Gabrielle Nadeau
Team: Maren Allen, David Tao, Salvador Palanca, Marcos Bano, Lucian Racovitan, Ryohei Koike, Camille Crépin, Elisa Wienecke, Léna Rigal, Paolo Venturella, Tiina Liis Juuti, Jeff Mikolajewski.

Name: EuropaCity
Type: Invited Competition
Size: 80 Hectare
Client: Groupe Auchan
Collaborators: Tess, TransSolar, Base, Transitec, Michel Forgue

  • chinaimport

    I didn’t know that France was such a good place to invest billions :D

    • mindgame

      If it ever happens it’ll look very far from this proposal.

  • gdane

    There goes the French economy.

  • south

    It was all looking good… then someone went and put a giant novelty saw in the middle of the concourse.

    • nicey

      Would that be an eyesaw then? (I’ll get my coat)