Atoll, a new regional retail park covering 979,515 square feet (91,000 m²) a short distance from the city of Angers, France, was designed by Paris-based architects Antonio Virga and Vincent Parreirra. It is a new generation complex that offers an alternative style of architecture for large retail spaces – a kind of ‘shopping stadium’ in which stores are grouped together in such a way as to avoid monotonous distribution along straight lines.
The continuous line of the building’s slightly irregular elliptical shape opens at the four compass points in large arched entrances that offer views into the immense green space of the ‘lagoon’ inside. The building envelope is pearly white perforated aluminium with backlighting, giving a unity to the entire structure, with its thermal lacquer finish reflecting the light and the surrounding landscape. The envelope comprises several bands: Up to ten feet (3 m), the diameter of the perforations is very small to block the view from outside, while from ten to thirty-three feet (3–12 m), the perforations are diamond shaped and different sizes. From thirty-three feet upward, the facade curves inwards, forming a canopy over the glazed walls that mark off the shops and the concourses. To comply with fire safety regulations, the centre of the ellipse is open.
To provide spaces for smaller shops, the complex is dotted with small constructions shaped like round pebbles, while at the centre of the complex are restaurants, a first aid service, a childcare facility and playground, a garden and a number of green spaces, and other services.
The envelope hides the less glamorous technical installations, with an attractive finish on both the inside and outside. It also provides a high level of environmental comfort, reducing the impact of west winds, improving thermal comfort by acting as sun shading, and, because of the cocoon effect created by its shape, reducing noise pollution. Sustainable development was a focus of the entire design process, and in 2009 Certivéa awarded the building HQE certification for high environmental quality in non-residential buildings.
Location: Angers, France
Client: Compagnie de Phalsbourg
Gross Floor Area: 91.000 m2
Cost of Construction: 145.000.000 Euros
Architects: Antonio Virga Architecte, AAVP Architecture – Vincent Parreira
Project Managers: Thomas Lastennet, Romaine Braida, Gweandal Herve
Coordination: Girec Engineering
Environmental Quality: Elan
Lighting: Les Eclaireurs
Concrete Structures: CGM
Metal Structures: PL Maitre, Sodimac
Cladding: Beo Automatic
Doors: Besam, Portalp
Photo by: 1-4/7-12/15 © Eric Heranval, 2-3-8/11-15 © Luc Boegly