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Lille

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Urban Design Master Plan for Euralille

In the early 1990s, there are plans for transforming the town of Lille, in Northern France, into an important hub where the high speed rail lines to Paris, London and Brussels intersect. As such, it will become the strategic centre of a region with 50 million inhabitants.

In anticipation of a huge demand for meeting and congress centres, offices, hotels, shops and leisure centres, the city council decides to develop ‘Euralille’, an urban design master plan for the ‘residual area’ between the new high speed rail station and the old SNCF station Lille Flandres.

In 1988, seven urban planning bureaus submit proposals for a master plan of the area; the choice falls on the project designed by OMA. Their plan is on a vast scale, including a high speed rail station, 45,000 m2 offices, 31,000 m2 shops, ten acres of park, 700 apartments, three hotels and 6,000 parking bays. The most important task assigned to OMA is to design the new road, rail and metro trajectory and situate colossal parking garages in the area. OMA positions the high speed rail network plus station and a huge parking garage below ground; a tunnel is also dug out beneath the ring road and medium and high rise office blocks are built above and adjacent to it. A triangular square with a shopping centre and an incline towards the park is situated in front of the station. A bridge is laid to negotiate the barrier presented by the highways, office towers are built surrounding the station and a strip with cultural and congress functions is built over the rail lines and roads.

The architects are selected by OMA: Christian de Portzamparc for the office tower above the railway line, Claude Vasconi for the World Trade Centre, Jean Nouvel for the shopping mall, and Jean-Marie Duthilleul for the station. OMA is responsible for the design of the Congrexpo.

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