The public inquiry into Greater Toulouse’s future exhibition center began November 4th, and will come to a close on December 13th. The Urban Community of Greater Toulouse hopes to obtain a recognition of public interest in 2014 so that work may begin in 2015.
An essential step in the plans for the exhibition center, set to open its doors in 2017 to the northwest of the Toulouse urban area, the public inquiry was just officially launched on November 4th for a six-week duration by Bernard Keller, vice president of the Urban Community of Greater Toulouse.
Simultaneously with the public inquiry, the community decided to file for a building permit. “This allows us to save a year. For such facilities, which will be able to accommodate more than 10,000 people, the building permit file must be subjected to public inquiry before being issued,” noted Bernard Keller, supported by Alain Garès, director of the local development corporation Europolia, deputy project manager, and by Anne Fraisse who is responsible for monitoring the project.
A Single Public Inquiry
For this project, which will provide Greater Toulouse with world-class facilities, the urban community has chosen to arrange a single public inquiry that includes different elements required by law in the same file.
“Aside from public interest itself, which is necessary for carrying out the work as a whole, the document includes the work’s authorization by water laws, parcel surveys, and proof of the compatibility of urban planning documents from the communes of Aussonne and Beauzelle, where the facilities will be housed. It also includes the classification of several roads or changes in the classification of existing roads located in public lands in affected communities,” explained Alain Garès.
Designed by Rem Koolhaas’ and Clément Blanchet’s agency OMA, the future exhibition center will develop 70,000 m2 of surface area, of which 40,000 m2 will be reserved for exhibition halls. It is characterized by its compact shape, which allows for limited ground-coverage, the size of the parking “silo” a “sort of backbone that the center feeds into,” and its modularity. The project manager has set the goal of obtaining the High Environmental Quality certification, and the international certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design New Construction (LEED NCR) for the building.
Well-integrated with its surroundings, the building will be served by a tramway line that will be extended 700 meters in order to arrive in front of the square, and near eco-friendly means of transportation. The project, which includes the creation of 6 kilometers of new roads and a transportation hub, also draws upon a total investment of 238 million euros, and that is without taking into account land acquisition, compensatory measures equal to 170 protected hectares, and the cost of various studies. The Toulouse Metropole will finance half of the required materials. The regional council of the Midi-Pyrénées region and the General Council of Haute-Garonne will share the remaining half.
Is there a shift towards large-scale projects aspiring towards eco-consciousness? Can such projects set standards for future developments through practicing environmental design?
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Original article, originally published in French, here.