Mediacite / Ron Arad Architects

© Marc Detiffe

Architects: Ron Arad Architects Ltd (RAAL)
Location: Liege,
Principal Designer: Ron Arad
Project Director: Geoff Crowther
Project Architect: Paul Madden
Design Team: Joel Dunmore, Tuomas Pirinen, Marta Granda, James Foster, Julian Gilhespie
Structural Engineer: Buro Happold (UK)
Executive Architect: Jaspers Eyers (Belgium)
Main Contractor: BPC (Belgium)
Roof Contractor: Iemants, (Belgium)
Client: Wilhelm & Co.
Project Area: 9,750 sqm
Budget: €18.75M
Project Year: 2006-2009
Photographs: Supplied by RAAL, Wilhelm & Co, Peter Cook, Marc Detiffe, Bernard Boccara, Yves L’Hermite, Eyal Shmuel

ground floor plan

Ron Arad Architects were invited to design the new mall, roof and public spaces of the 40,000 sqm mixed use development known as Médiacité. Situated in Liege, once the world’s foremost centre for steel production and since in economic decline, the building stands out as a symbol of the city’s revitalisation and strives to spearhead the city’s regeneration.

© Bernard Boccara
© Marc Detiffe

The 350 metre long mall weaves through the fabric of the refurbished old market centre at one end, through the new two storey building, connecting to the new Belgian national television centre at the other. The design of the roof unites these elements with a complex network of steel roof ribs that undulate through the mall. The lattice of steel sculpts the volume of the mall beneath, varying both in height and structural depth to form a variety of differing experiences. As the structure exits the volume of the main building (at the two piazzas and at the link between the old market and new building) the steel ribs wrap downwards, merging into the façade and forming the building’s envelope. The structure is entirely free-spanning along its length and width, with 200mm wide steel ribs that vary in depth from 300mm to 1200mm, weaving through each other in a deformed grid-like network. To minimise loadings, the complex three dimensional structure is clad in transparent lightweight ETFE – pneumatic Texlon cushions which allow light to penetrate the roof while moulding themselves to the irregular structure. As the roof gradually transforms into façade, the ETFE cladding merges into curved aluminium rain-screen panels and glass.

© Peter Cook
section 01
model

The project was completed to a highly accelerated programme, with a duration of only 34 months from inception to completion. Construction began in April 2007 and the building was inaugurated in October 2009.

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Mediacite / Ron Arad Architects" 31 Oct 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 Nov 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=84872>
  • wpgmb

    this guy is over-rated.

  • http://uptodayarch.blogspot.com up_today_arch

    Fiest I surprised it is not self-supporting structure, it still need columnes… Second, everything below structure is regular… was it realy difficult forward the idea to all floors?…

  • AA

    remember it’s a mall not a museom, you are far more limeted in the disigne of comercial space. i think it’s amezing.

    • CJCM

      That is not an excuse for poor design. A good architect sees limitations as opportunities for great design, not as obstacles.

  • javedani

    astounding interior…
    thw umportance of light is high lighted and this is the secret of it’s elegance.
    I like it very much.

  • CJCM

    An ordinary mall with a complicated roof.

  • James

    I like this. It’s a good solid design and executed like a pro, as usual. I’ll be interested to see where Arad takes the experiment with strips and lines we’ve seen in his last two projects next. Many people are looking at these forms right now and I enjoy seeing the different results and how the different famous architects address it. It’s a very simple/tight project in the end. Pretty much a blob and chop, but the detailing looks great, and these types of orders can be very sublime from certain angles as the photos illustrate. I think this was the case of a good architect who given a crazy schedule went with a solid if not revolutionary strategy that they knew would look great. I hope Arad gets the opportunity to be more unique in the future and bring more of what made his industrial designs so important. Arad deserves to be doing truly unique projects in my opinion and hopefully his clients will make it easier for him to do that next time.