Construction has kicked off on Lyon Part-Dieu, MVRDV’s competition-winning design for Europe’s largest downtown shopping center – and it promises much more than retail therapy. Conceived as an antidote to the existing mall’s car-centered design, the new shopping center will emphasize the public realm with a human scale and pedestrian friendly experience. The mall will be integrated into the urban fabric and bring in greenery with landscaped areas ranging from the ground floor to a public green roof.

Lyon Part-Dieu by MVRDV, Lyon Part-Dieu redesign, Lyon Part-Dieu construction, Lyon Part-Dieu in France, pixelated facade architecture, depolluting concrete coating, renovated shopping center urban experience

Lyon Part-Dieu by MVRDV, Lyon Part-Dieu redesign, Lyon Part-Dieu construction, Lyon Part-Dieu in France, pixelated facade architecture, depolluting concrete coating, renovated shopping center urban experience

Founded in 1975 in the 3rd arrondissement of Lyon, the 166,000-square-meter Lyon Part-Dieu shopping center is now undergoing a contemporary makeover. “Lyon Part-Dieu, we draw this facade with big pixels which we hope will give a more human scale not just to the mall, but the whole site,” says Winy Maas, MVRDV co-founder. “In 2020, Lyon Part-Dieu will be both a place for everyday life and shopping, but also culture and relaxation in a reinvented setting.’’

Lyon Part-Dieu by MVRDV, Lyon Part-Dieu redesign, Lyon Part-Dieu construction, Lyon Part-Dieu in France, pixelated facade architecture, depolluting concrete coating, renovated shopping center urban experience

Lyon Part-Dieu by MVRDV, Lyon Part-Dieu redesign, Lyon Part-Dieu construction, Lyon Part-Dieu in France, pixelated facade architecture, depolluting concrete coating, renovated shopping center urban experience

The most eye-catching element of the redesign is the “pixelated” facade where the facade subtly transitions from concrete to glass to open the interior up to the outdoors. The concrete facade will also be covered in “depolluting coating” to improve outdoor air quality.

Lyon Part-Dieu by MVRDV, Lyon Part-Dieu redesign, Lyon Part-Dieu construction, Lyon Part-Dieu in France, pixelated facade architecture, depolluting concrete coating, renovated shopping center urban experience

Related: MVRDV unveils solar-powered Milestone building that looks like a crystal rock

While retail will reign king at Lyon Part-Dieu, the new mall also offers plenty for the non-shopper including restaurants, cinema, and public parks. Big outdoor stairwells and escalators provide access to the public green roof and park. The project is slated for completion in 2020 and the buildings will remain open during construction.

+ MVRDV

Images via MVRDV