“Aberrant”, “awful” … The new entrance to the Commerce car park attracts criticism

Under construction for over a year, the new redeveloped Place du Commerce is eagerly awaited by the people of Nantes. An important step was taken on Monday with the opening of the modernized underground car park and its reception building. Except that the discovery of this room housing two elevators and a staircase, covered with a glass roof and an aluminum cladding, is accompanied over the days by a flood of criticism. In question: an architecture considered “austere” and “massive” for this emblematic place.

“It’s practical but really not aesthetic”, laments a passer-by, who “does not understand” the changes made on the square. “Before there were florists in the same place, now we have that…” another woman from Nantes is surprised. “This entrance to the parking lot is a horror …”, adds a local woman at the exit of her building overlooking the square. The bell sound is similar among traders. “The place itself is fine, but the parking is a problem… What a wart it is,” the employees of Bouillon du Commerce, a restaurant located opposite, are sad.

“We’re ransacking the city center with this atrocious thing”

But it is on social networks, as often, that the opinions are the most virulent. “It’s a comeback to the 80s with a grid-type facade”, laments Blazé44. “It’s just awful, filthy, we couldn’t do worse with just behind the magnificent Fnac building! There it is just like a prison entrance. It is completely absurd to see that the city center is ransacked with this atrocious thing, ”protests David. “Horrible to have allowed such an entrance in the middle of the Place du Commerce. It spoils the view, ”reproaches another Internet user.

The car park is accessible from Place Commerce – J. Urbach / 20 Minutes

The municipal opposition does not say anything else. Fayçal Chebourou, spokesperson for Better living in Nantes, the new party of the Nantes right, believes that “Johanna Rolland and the PS-EELV majority in Nantes who piloted this project, were careful not to reveal the new Commerce wart in their model! “” With them, it’s like
Wish, the result is less beautiful than the photo, ”he quipped.

It must be said that the visual of the new building did not appear, in fact, on the computer-generated images broadcast during the consultation of the project. An absence that was “unintentional”, assures
Jacqueline Osty, the architect-urban planner in charge of the Feydeau-Commerce sector development project.

“You have to judge the whole, not just the object”

Solicited by 20 minutes, Jacqueline Osty considers that “the subject of aesthetics is not anecdotal” and that “criticism is normal” in an urban project. Stating that it was “not possible to revegetate”
the entrance, laureate of Grand Prize for Urbanism 2020 however invites “patience” before deciding on this new place of Commerce. “You have to judge the whole, not just the object as such. However, the work is in progress, the fountains are not installed, many plants are missing. Tomorrow we will have a large square, with entertainment, terraces that will be able to expand. It will be very different. “

Raum, Nantes architecture agency having designed the building criticized, indicates that the metal cladding is not completed and that it is intended to “cover the whole” of the room. She recalls that the project has been validated by numerous bodies, including the Architecte des Bâtiments de France, known to be demanding. The agency insists on the search for “transparencies” offered by the outer envelope and on its neutrality allowing it to “take on slightly different colors depending on the weather”. Finally, she adds that the construction had to adapt to “many constraints”, in particular that of dealing with the existing parking lot.

Work on the new pedestrian plateau will be completed at the end of 2022 with the last phase of planting. “But the essentials will be finalized before the summer”, assures Jacqueline Osty.

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