OMA has won a competition to design the new Parc des Expositions (PEX) convention center in Toulouse, France. Designed to hold conferences, exhibitions, and concerts, the new hall will function as an opening to the city and a hub in the countryside. OMA has configured a plan for that preserves much of the surrounding area while organizing future development along to a 2.8 kilometer centralized stripe, with PEX filling 660 meters of that length. The project is divided into three programmatic bars: the multipurpose event hall for performances and concerts, which opens up to the exterior, a vast column-free exhibition hall, and a large parking silo with ramps that are visible to halls through glass walls. Led by French projects director, Clement Blanchet, the project is expected to be complete in 2016.
The project reveals the firm’s love of the superstructures of the 60s and 70s, calling to mind both Super Studio’s unrealized Continuous Monument and, from other angles, the East Building at McCormick Place in Chicago, by CF Murphy Associates. Such quotations remind us that Rem may be at heart a Postmodernist, though instead of pasted on pediments, he seeks to reanimate the forms and urbanism of Modernism’s ambitious–and currently scorned–recent past.