Paixhans Boulevard & Mazelle car parks: Modern facades with ST® Lumière panels in historic surroundings

In the French city of Metz, two new car parks were built in order to cope with the increasing traffic in the city centre. The challenge of integrating modern facilities into historic surroundings is not always easy. In this case, ST® Lumière perforated cladding sheets and the shiny appearance of Kristal® helped to create a dignified contrast between old and new, historic and functional.

Detailed information

Car parks are vital in today's urban development of city centres. In order to create thriving common spaces, more and more streets are being converted into pedestrian areas that give room for walks, shopping strolls, and terraces. Metz, in north-east France, is one of those cities with one of the largest city centre pedestrian areas in the country.

However, cars don't just disappear like that. Appropriate parking facilities have to be created to make the pedestrian experience possible.

Dating back to ancient times, many buildings in Metz are protected by the National Heritage. Therefore, the main challenge was how to integrate two functional buildings such as car parks into the historic environment of the city. The architect to resolve this problem was Christophe Mariotti of the French architectural practice Mariotti & Associates.

Integration into the urban surroundings

The solution Christophe Mariotti came up with lies in the facades of the buildings, which is crucial for their integration into the urban surroundings. The material and cladding profiles chosen were the same for both car parks: ST® Lumière cladding sheets, perforated to let both light and air through, are made of Kristal®, a durable aluminium-zinc coating with a characteristic metallic spangle and high reflectivity. This way, it absorbs the colours of its environment, ensuring a harmonious side by side of history and functionality.

A special light effect is created at night: The buildings seem to glow due to the perforated cladding that lets out the interior lighting. The perforated ST® Lumière facade also offers functional advantages: It allows good ventilation, which made further fire protection installations unnecessary, and protects from rain and wind.

Paixhans Boulevard car park

Located on Paixhans Boulevard, this car park is surrounded by sport facilities, ancient walls, and a historic district with a lot of greenery. As a response to the green surroundings, the rear facade of the building is ventilated, with plant-filled panels installed at irregular intervals.

This steel car park, which offers 403 parking spaces on four levels (half levels) was finished in just 12 months.

Mazelle car park

230 more parking spaces are available on three levels in the Mazelle car park, named after the square it is located on. It is surrounded by buildings of different architectural styles, ranging from medieval to 20th century. The architect decided to create a monolithic building that transmits both strength and lightness at the same time and fits into the architecture mix in its surroundings.

Mazelle car park was selected as a site for a multimedia artwork by the French architectural heritage organisation l'Architecte des Bâtiments de France (ABF). A contest was held to select the winning design. Now black plates of various geometrical shapes are scattered all over the facade of the car park - a design that seems to have been generated by a mysterious algorithm. Created by Austrian artist Esther Stocker, the design transforms a simple functional car park into an international artwork.

Project information

  • Metz
  • France
  • Architect:
    Christophe Mariotti, Mariotti & Associes
  • 2009 - 2010
  • Client:
    SNC Parking Paixhans & SNC Parking Mazelle
  • Photographer:
    ©ArcelorMittal Dudelange, ©Julien Cescon