The Beam by MVRDV and de Alzua+

Dutch office MVRDV and French architects de Alzua+ have won a competition to re-masterplan the French town of Villeneuve d'Ascq and are proposing a building that cantilevers over a motorway.

As the first phase in a wider redevelopment programme, the mixed-use complex is intended to signify the presence of the town to passing drivers. At present a number of oversized shopping malls are the only thing visible from the motorway, so the architects wanted to create a visual reference for the town centre.

The Beam by MVRDV and de Alzua+

Buildings are to be arranged around a series of grassy courtyards and will contain shops, offices and a new hotel. Surface parking areas that currently occupy the site will be relocated underground, freeing up space for pedestrian pathways.

MVRDV and de Alzua+ are progressing the plans alongside development corporation ADIM Nord. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2015.

The Beam by MVRDV and de Alzua+

MVRDV has completed a number of projects in recent months, including a shop and office complex disguised as an old farmhouse and a public library inside a glass pyramid. See more architecture by MVRDV.

Here's a project description from MVRDV:

MVRDV win Competition with 'The Beam', Marking the Urban Renewal of Villeneuve d'Ascq, France

Development corporation ADIM Nord with MVRDV and de Alzua+ have been announced the winners of an urban renewal competition in the French town of Villeneuve d'Ascq, beating four other entries. The masterplan for a crucial site in the town centre adjacent to an inner city motorway, is the starting point of a wider regeneration of the area's public space. An iconic building, The Beam, will hover over the motorway signalling urban renewal and acting as visual reference point for the town's centre. A hotel, offices and retail space, totalling 15.000 m2, will be built on the site of a former petrol station, with construction expected to start in 2015.

Villeneuve d'Ascq is a new town located near Lille in the very north of France. The Beam will be icon of a larger urban generation effort in the town centre which is currently characterised by parking lots, large volumes and undefined green spaces. On an urban level the masterplan aims at a more sustainable form of development by densifying the town centre and adding identity and diversity to the site. The creation of pedestrian zones, and the demarcation and connection of the existing green spaces together also form part of the plan.

The parking spaces on the main square will be relocated into a 274 space underground car park on the new site. The adjacent buildings, which face away from the site will be extended to form urban blocks; each with a green patio at its centre. At the corner of the inner city motorway and the service road leading towards the main square of Villeneuve d'Ascq, The Beam will create an address for the town centre on the motorway.

The site, one of the few places visible from this sunken dual-carriageway, allows the town centre to be visible to drivers passing by. The project is currently under development and will contain offices, a hotel and some retail space with a total area of around 15,000 m2, and the underground car park offering 274 parking spaces. The team ADIM with MVRDV and co-architect Jérôme de Alzua beat four competitors in a competition organised by Commune de Villeneuve d'Ascq.