Client : PROGEREAL
Architect : Wilmotte & Associés SA
Area: 16 200 m²
Design of a 50-room, 30-suite hotel, office building, and five commercial buildings (showrooms, offices, etc.).
The site selected for the future SOPHIPOLIS business park is at the heart of the Saint Bernard commercial area, at the entrance to the City of Vallauris. As the last available building lot, it has a major role to play in the development of the district. The interesting topography and vegetation of this natural amphitheatre drove many of the design concepts.
The first of these concepts was designed to celebrate the site's flora. The different buildings are positioned on the site as a series of steps; this keeps the average slope of the site intact, and means the vegetation can be maintained in its natural state along the road edge. To fully integrate the buildings, the spaces between them are planted as terraces; this creates an alternating rhythm of built elements and vegetation, all the while adhering as closely as possible to the natural profile of the site. This environmental approach is also evident in the building construction; the same structure and wood siding is used throughout and some buildings have green roofs, further integrating the building into the vegetation-dominated site.
The second concept was to give the project a strong identity to help revitalise the Saint Bernard district. This is accomplished through a mixed-use programme (offices, hotel, and retail space) as well as a rational architectural composition expressly oriented towards the main entrance to the site. To that end, the complex of buildings is articulated along the pedestrian path heading towards the roundabout on Saint Bernard Way. This compositional axis constitutes a car-free spine punctuated by public spaces (landscaped squares and terraces). This forms the gateway to the site and creates attractive commercial space starting from Saint Bernard Way. The separation of vehicular and pedestrian circulation ensures the best legibility and functionality of the overall design. Visitors can move from one building to another, progressively approaching the high point of the site where the natural spaces around the hotel are revealed. Employing these two concepts, the project's architectural parti is to create an effective business park which restores a sense of identity and promotes economic development along Saint Bernard Way while respecting the existing site vegetation.