Claude Parent

Centre commercial, Sens, 1968-1970

Commissioned to Claude Parent by the Societé Immobilière des Grands Magasins d'Approvisionnement Général (S.A.I.G.M.A.G.), this complex comprises one major store and related commercial spaces (6 300 m²), forty-two additional commercial spaces (1 980 m²), a car servicing center (600 m²) and a gas station (1 080 m²). Raw concrete, sloping roofs and detached façades unify the dual program, which groups small shops and one major supermarket. Here, the architect created a landscape, as he had started doing with his individual houses (Soultrait, 1956-1958; Drusch, 1963-1963; Bordeaux-le-Pecq, 1963-1965). He offered a new relief to observers, for whom the structure seems to emerge from the site: “The utilization of raw concrete highlights the implicit movement of the architecture. In this case, it is defined as a giant arrow at the entrance, like a zoomorphic form emerging from the underground car park” (C. Parent). Originally surrounded by fields under cultivation or lying fallow, it is easy to imagine how this mineral architecture functioned as a signal. The interior circulation paths enabling communication between the shops are composed of ramps with an 8% incline, following the precepts of the Oblique Function, which he had theorized with Paul Virilio between 1963 and 1968. Three slopes, expressed on the façade, represented a real innovation in this type of program in which functionality and clarity were of primary importance. The building was registered on the Supplementary Inventory of Historical Monuments in 2011.

Audrey Jeanroy

partager sur ou