STATION BALMA – New mobilities as a generator of urban development, by SYVIL Architectures du Système Ville

Located along Toulouse ring road and only 7 minutes from the city centre by metro, the project “Station Balma” is designed as the first act of a gradual transformation of the Eastern metropolitan gateway of Toulouse : it is a process-project, a driving force of a profound transformation of this pivot site, right between the city and its outskirts.

As part of the call for innovative projects “Dessine-moi Toulouse”, Tisseo (Toulouse public transport management company) invites to think about the transformation of Balma, one of the main cities of Toulouse suburbs, and the huge carpark located in front of its metro terminal and bus station. Urban space is today very loose and widely monopolized by individual car transportation. The arrival of public transport, in particular the metro, yet suggests a profound change in the district’s urban form and calls for new usages for this future economic polarity of the Toulouse metropolis. The project is conceived as an operational system serving this expected transformation.

The project initiates the public space takeover by alternative transportation and proposes a new urban reference by creating a productive ground floor open to a large pedestrian esplanade. “Station Balma” is a platform that support local initiatives, it is a multifunctional and reversible hybrid building, dedicated to alternative mobility and all forms of economic activity : a craftsmanship incubator associated to a restaurant, co-working spaces and a café, a diversified offer of offices open to the outside, a hotel with a rooftop bar, shops, spaces dedicated to associations promoting bike use, an associative pavilion open to shared gardens users.

The project settles inside the consultation limits but initiates a process for the evolution of the site with several operations that will supplement the urban form. This first step is an evolutionary design : it is an autonomous and functional entity but it can also be completed into the future stages of the urban development. It is a pioneer architectural feature that promises a real urban project for the district.

By SYVIL Architectures du Système Ville

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