In the Maquinnext development, retail, leisure, public space and housing are integrated to create a new piece of city where the combination of programs triggers a unique shopping experience, while also tapping into the expectations set by the urban context of Barcelona. Can a shopping center integrate large and high quality public space? Can it become a friendly iconic element which brings on a new identity to the neighborhood? Would it then be possible to make it a public green space, a forest even?
Maquinnext represents an intense encounter between nature and the city. It is the response to an ambitious brief which calls for the transformation of a neighbourhood into a new focal point in Barcelona with a mixed used development, including both the extension of a major shopping centre and residential use.
A key issue in the design is phasing, since due to the weak housing market, the housing development is not expected to begin construction for another 4-5 years. The proposal makes a conscious decision to create an efficient, sustainable open air shopping center which will strengthen the existing facility's connection with its surroundings.
The roof of the shopping center becomes an undulated landscape, an accessible green roof providing a much needed oasis in the hard surfaced city.
Points are pulled upwards strategically to emphasize the entrances while others are pulled downwards to grant a soft entrance to the sublime, lifted forest which characterises the new development.
The forest can be experienced visually from the entire neighborhood and physically from the new retail streets. The intense nature stimulates the shopping experience and pumps life into the district.
It paradoxically merges into the urban fabric, as well as stands out. When the time comes for the residential development, slender high rise towers will emerge from the forest itself enriching the sky line of Barcelona.