One of the things I love about living in France is its constant investment in infrastructure. In the fifteen years we’ve lived here, pretty much everywhere has benefited from urban renewal. None more so than one of the city’s main arterial roads, rue Jean Medecin. I recently described the renovation of the old station Gare du Sud but, more excitingly, just a few hundred metres down the road, further redevelopment is taking place.
The main railway station in Nice Côte d’Azur (8 million passengers a year – 11 million expected by 2020), Nice-Thiers station was built in 1870. The arrival in 2023 of the new high speed network, the reinforcement of the TER (second largest in France after the Ile-de-France) as well as the development of the tramway network, highlight the importance of the redevelopment of this station. The aim is to create a real multi-modal exchange hub, which will meet the evolving transport needs of the city’s inhabitants and visitors.
Work on the passenger building, services and access to the platforms was completed at the end of 2015. A second phase of works, to integrate a commercial space into the junction with the tramway is planned for delivery by 2020.
These works will not only upgrade the station but will also revitalise the neighborhood. The planned construction of a mixed-development complex will be housed within an “Iconic” building designed by Daniel Libeskind, the architect of Groud Zero’s “Master Plan” in Manhattan and the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.
The 40 metre high structure will be made of concrete, steel and glass (imagined in the header photo above) and will be reminiscent of a multi-faceted diamond.
I was inspired by the mineral forms of azurite, a harmonious crystallization to create a building that can be seen from all angles and thus help to remove the border between these two parts of the city. It will also serve to reflect the city, the light and the landscape.
On a footprint of 6,500 m2, this building will have 19,000 m2 over six levels. The ground and first floor will house 6,000 m2 of shops. The other levels will house 3,000 m2 of office space, a Hilton hotel with 120 rooms and a 1000 m2 fitness room, and a 600-seat auditorium – something the city currently lacks.
The development will not only unite the north and south of the city but will also, amd more importantly, regenerate the neighbourhood. This is one of the bolder station redevelopment projects ever undertaken and represents a significant investment for the city.
(Header: Daniel Libeskind et l’agence Février Carré. © Studio Libeskind)