Part of an ambitious urban regeneration project embellishing a land that used to be defined by hydroelectric-powered textile industries, the new Oloron Saint Marie Multimedia Center displays its bold architecture in the town of Oloron-Sainte-Marie, France. French architectural firm Pascale Guédot, in collaboration with Michel Corajoud, took this first step in re-imagining this abandoned beret factory into a wonderful media center built on the remaining stone foundation. Located at the confluence of the Aspe and Ossau torrents, it just had to capture this natural beauty within its architecture, so the architects designed the 2,700 square meter building as a main wood latticed volume floating on top of a glass level below, where children are encouraged to discover new things. This beautifully modern multimedia center was linked to the opposite banks via two walkways uniting in a 1,255 square meter public concourse and creating a necessary connection between river banks. A 44 car parking space ensures visitors are carefree when walking through the Oloron Saint Marie Multimedia Center’s glass entrance.
Energy during the construction process was saved by using FSC-certified glulam timber instead of steel to create the building’s distinctive wavy roof, while the store’s external walls use hemclad, a highly innovative insulator made from hemp, which, like all plants, absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere as it grows. An 80,000 litre water tank below ground provides water for the store’s toilets and waters the site’s green wall’, which provides natural insulation, acts as an all-natural pollution filter near the car park, and helps to encourage biodiversity. The result is a building that uses a fraction of the energy of structures of a similar size, and is still very popular with local shoppers.
These days, a building doesnt just have to look good, it should ideally be good for the environment too. A great example of sustainability spliced with style from the past few years is the M&S store at Cheshire Oaks Retail Park in Ellesmere Port, designed by Aukett Fitzroy Robinson.