The renovation of the Claira shopping centre is characterized by an entirely traditional approach consisting in an extension to the existing gallery coupled with the creation of a retail park. Where our intervention is original is in its approach to the management of transitional spaces between the external car park and the shops, and in its treatment of a major actor in the Catalan environment, namely the wind.
Designed in collaboration with the landscape artists of TN+, the external promenade is exceptionally wide, in fact 22 metres at some points. It is bordered by “micro-spaces” forming a series of refuges, alcoves and shelters against the wind, the sun, the crowds, noise, the view, etc. These spaces, the functions of which are varied – play areas for children of different ages, theme gardens, rest areas – constitute a kind of thematic and physical barrier between the shop facades and the car park, itself bordered by a cycle lane.
Our architecture pays homage to the wind, always present in Catalonia, particularly on the Perpignan. Plain, where the Tramontane blows forcefully from the north-west. Floating above the entrances to the building, fixed to the facades, textile cushion “clouds” diffuse the sunlight during the day and, at nightfall, become luminous beacons. Calling them “clouds” is, in reality, improper, since these awnings symbolize leafs carried on the billowing wind. At the entrances, we also find wind turbines, air intake vents, wind sensors and weather vanes perched on tall masts.
The facades are covered with two materials, the first of which is wood – retified chestnut, left untreated – covering the facades of the retail park. In certain places, a line of coloured LEDS recalls the red and gold flag of Catalonia. Meanwhile, the facade of the shopping gallery extension is covered with, deep orange, terracotta-like thermolacquered panels.