A tremendous human adventure!
Bold architecture, stores never seen in Belgium before
To design and create Médiacité, the promoter-developer had no hesitation in bringing together highly skilled experts from all over Europe, leaders in their respective fields. Among them the architect-designer Ron Arad, the Jaspers-Eyers architectural practice, civil engineers TPF, and Buro Happold from London, and, internally, the Wilhelm & Co Architecture & Design unit, a distinctive arm of the firm led by Nicole Van den Plas.
A strong architectural image that shines out over the whole Longdoz district, and has attracted an impressive number of stores, most of them new to the site. It’s notably the case with “newcomers” to Wallonia (such as TBY, McGregor and Gaastra), indeed to Belgium: the unstoppable European “fashion” chain Primark (which has taken on 160 staff!), the trendy Italian women’s label, Motivi and one of the leading European “lifestyle” brands, Tom Tailor.
“Altogether, 45,313 m² GLA have been built, almost tripling the floor area of the old Longdoz arcade, dedicated to retail, catering and leisure, without forgetting the creation of 2,350 underground parking spaces managed by Gespark (subsidiary owned 50-50 by Parking Cathédrale/Wilhelm & Co)”, says Jean-Michel Despaux, managing director of development at Wilhelm & Co Group. “As of today, Médiacité has directly created 1,200 jobs. As for its customer catchment area, it goes far beyond the centre of the Ardennes capital and the Liège region to extend over a large part of Wallonia and the Meuse-Rhine Euro-region and its million potential customers.”
The puzzle is coming together. After the Shopping Centre and Pôle Image, RTBF has inaugurated its new and largest studio in Wallonia in a magnificent new building – Media Rives, and a brand new Olympic ice skating rink (built by the City of Liège) has been opened since December 2012. In the months to come, Médiacité will continue to expand with a 6-screen cinema.
Summing up, Peter Wilhelm says: “For the originality of its building approach, its architectural durability, the international store names it has been able to attract, its future development and its total integration into a district it has reshaped and a city it contributes to revitalising, Médiacité is, for all who have taken part in the project, a tremendous human adventure!”
Perfectly suited to commercial centres, this international certification is the oldest and most widely-used reference throughout the world, the highest standard in terms of sustainable construction. It has become the de facto standard evaluation method to assess a building’s environmental performance. “Of around thirty pilot projects, Médiacité is one of the first in Europe and the first in Belgium to be awarded the certification at the design stage,” explained BRE Global, the independent body that awarded this distinction to Médiacité.
A distinction that will not stop Wilhelm & Co from proving, as it has committed to doing, that the building’s energy performance is still completely valid.