MVRDV has won a competition to renovate and extend the Palais du Commerce in Rennes, France. Developed in collaboration with co-architects Bernard Desmoulin and developers Frey and Engie Avenue, the transformation of the historic landmark will “signify a renaissance for both the building and its surroundings.” The MVRDV scheme will reactivate both the Place de la Republique and the Palais, turning a former public building into a centerpiece of the city’s main commercial street as was originally intended. While being respectful to the existing building, the MVRDV proposal adopts a critical approach to its drawbacks, such as transparency and accessibility. Situated in the southern part of Rennes’ city center, the Palais du Commerce was born from two construction phases in 1885 and 1929, serving as a post office, library, and arts school. With poor integration between the building and its surroundings, most residents are unaware of most of the activities inside: a disconnect that MVRDV seeks to rectify.
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