OMA's latest competition win will be firm’s first public building in France
On the banks of the River Garonne, the elegant city of Toulouse is one of France’s most historically rich regions. Following a heated competition, a low-lying convention centre will be realised on the outskirts of the city by 2016, designed by international firm OMA.
In an effort to preserve the free-flowing green countryside that unfolds across the available site, OMA have selected a 2.8km by 320m wide strip of land to utilise for this project, reserving additional space in case the convention centre is extended at a future date.
The new Parc des Expositions (PEX) is to be narrow 660m volume, standing at only 24m in height and encompassing a multifunctional Event Hall, a 40,000 sq m column-free Exhibition Hall and a 160,000 sq m parking silo.
Speaking on the winning design, OMA’s Director of French Projects Clément Blanchet explained: “This project is not only about architecture, but rather infrastructure. It’s a condenser for diversity, a machine that can promote an infinite amount of possibilities.”
The concept behind PEX is to compress a number of activity centres into a single unit, creating a ‘compact mini-city’ as a direct response to the gradually extending park sprawl found in a large proportion of civic centres.