The new Parc des Expositions (PEX), in the innovation zone of Toulouse, southern France, is a project that is not only about architecture, but also about infrastructure. PEX is designed to be a condenser for diversity, a machine that can produce an infinite amount of possibilities. PEX is conceived as a new gateway to the city and will host exhibitions, conferences, and concerts. The 338,000m2 project is a compact mini-city - an antidote to the sprawl of a standard exposition park and a means to preserve the surrounding French countryside.
Rather than spreading across the entire available 150 acre site - a patchwork of open fields and sporadic developments - OMA (architect) chose to designate a 'virtual' strip, 2.8 kilometres long and 320 metres wide, crossed by the RD902 highway.
PEX consists of three parallel bands:
- the multi-function Event Hall, with a massive doorway allowing performances to spread outdoors
- a 40,000m2 column-free Exhibition Hall
- a 160,000m2 parking silo for 6,500 cars. Instead of banishing parking underground or pushing it to the periphery of the site, parking ramps are visible through glass partitions from inside the halls.
Royal HaskoningDHV delivered the acoustic advice.