Docks Vauban, Le Havre

The challenge with this project was to finds a way of bringing the historic but deserted large-scale warehouse buildings back to life without destroying their grand but austere character.

The approach was to restore the fabric of the buildings in a very straightforward way but, at the ground floor retail level, to add simple and elegant timber-framed glazed boxes to allow shop-front display without widening the existing narrow openings in the brickwork.

In addition new buildings could be created at each end to house the cinemas and hotel.

The main arcades are designed to accommodate a mixture of lifestyle shopping, restaurants and market stalls following such precedents as Covent Garden, London and Faneuil Market Boston. The new interventions are contemporary in design juxtaposed with the grandeur of the historic warehouses. The south side has the main restaurant frontage overlooking the new marina.