NICE Train Station Extension

Clément Blanchet Architecture releases its International Competition Entry, against Marc Mimram, Jean Duthilleul and Daniel Libeskind (winner).

Our project is a suture integrating a new mixed use complex gathering public realm, retail, offices and a boutique hotel in the heart of the city center of Nice.

The site is encompassed between railways, a ring road and the city. It appears as an accidental gap in the urban frame, the evidence of a discontinuous urban development. To provide an answer to the question of orientation/isolation, two observations triggered the design of our project. Firstly, the pivotal position of the site, where Nice’s main shopping street meets his railway station. The second observation is that infrastructures isolate the north of the city to the historical south. It results in a lack of engagement with the surrounding public domain fails to create an attractive center. The initial complexity of the site suggested a simple, yet effective design. It is the translation of infrastructural and metropolitan issues.

The opportunity to build a new program will enhance accessibility and reinvigorate the site, increase attractiveness of the infrastructure. Both the existing station and the new mixed-use complex will form a continuous network. Therefore in our project, the terminal and landside programs are consolidated into a single linear promenade. The retail program in the ground floor seeks to connect the project seamlessly with his surroundings. Then mixed-use program programs generate three-dimensional undulations which allow to reconnect the site to the north part of the city, while giving to the station an attractive urban façade on Jean Médecin Avenue and provide residents, tourists, and travelers a dynamic new public agora that achieves a strong interaction between interior program and his environment. Thus, the project operates at three scales of intervention: the actual train station, the neighborhood and the Metropolis.

Like an optical illusion the new corner creates a welcoming entrance points, inviting travelers and visitors inside. Its architectural strengh is to improve its context and local history. We propose to update the Nice’s «trompe l’oeil» reinterpreting this strategic angle as a reflection of urban life. This mirror is active, it can represent the city but also display messages, cultural as as commercial. This is a unique digital wall reflecting the vitality of the city of Nice.

Rather than becoming just an infrastructural node, the new complex is shaped to promote public life, turning constraints into freedom for social interaction. Modernity is thus a spontaneous process.