The Complex de la Republic, a market and civic office tower built in the 1960s, is a special meeting place and commercial hub at the heart of the city of Pau. It’s much-needed renovation and restructuring will play a major role in the future social life of the city. The market is symbolic for the people of Pau, showing off their fine local and regional produce, and creating a social and cultural link for the whole community. The complex has to be rehabilitated in phases, however, according to the needs of its vendors and users, and a sensitive approach must be taken to utilising some, though not all of the existing structure.
MVRDV’s proposal seeks to activate the existing spaces of this outdated complex by removing obstructions and creating a central, flexible hall for the temporary market while moving the permanent market to the far end of the building, and restaurants and cafés are located in an attractive mezzanine above. The new central space, placed between the market and the civic offices, can be used for concerts, exhibitions and other cultural events when not in use as a market, thereby creating a kind of living room for the city.