As a brand-new ground-up district, in 2017 EuropaCity launched a call for 8 key buildings to be located within BIG’s competition-winning master plan, which included hotels, concert halls, exhibition centers, and a contemporary circus. UN Studio was chosen to design the Centre Culturel Dédié Au 7è Art, which was a cinema house but with the addition of cultural space and the challenge to make it more than just a building complex displaying cinemas from time to time. It was a cultural center, it was a social space, and it was an interaction ground for the community, featuring both indoor and outdoor venues for traditional as well as modern ways of showcasing cinemas.

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Aerial View_©UNStudio

EuropaCity Centre Culturel Dedie au 7eme Art, located in Paris, France, is a new-age cinema design in which UN Studio attempted to embrace the concept of outdoor cinema as we had in the past.Cinema was quite an experience back in the day when people would either go to the theatre or often watch this in the open with the recording being projected onto a white screen, at night completely open to the sky. Cinemas gradually evolved into a mere black box experience for the people.Today, designers want to give the audience a better experience of what a cinema is, and the audience, too, is striving for a more nostalgic experience of what the theatres were. Nobody wants a basic black box experience anymore.

At UN Studio, the designers aimed to do exactly this. They have tried to create a public space that was a cultural destination with a complete indoor and outdoor experience, which gives the complete experience of what a cinema is.

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Aerial View of open air theatre_©UNStudio

Immochan France and Dalian Wanda Group are the clients.
Design: UNStudio, Amsterdam
Triangle de Gonesse, Ile-de-France, north of Paris (EuropaCity), France
Surface area of the building: 10 045 m2 gross floor area
75 540 m3 building volume
7 641 m2 construction site
Cinematographic art is the focus of this cultural center.
Status: Successful competition entry

The studio aimed to do more than provide just a black box where movies were screened inside. They wanted people to interact with the building and its surroundings too, making it way more than just a four-wall structure.

The design concept

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Massing Study Models_©UNStudio

The Centre Culturel Building is designed with its “rolling hills” concept, where three distinct buildings emerge from the ground. The building’s facade material was inspired by large-scale landscape sculptures and uses mostly earthly tones and colors. The three volumes break open the surface of the earth and are seen to be emerging from it, while the gently rolling landscape continues as a sloping green carpet and continues onto the roof as well. The sloping roofs are open public spaces and give access to various ideas, like open screening spaces or spaces for restaurants and cafes. This one feature opens up the structure, making the space more public and community engaging. They also give a perfect view of the skyline of Paris, especially during sunrise and sunset, when you get to see the golden light trickling down on the city as you lie out on the green grass enjoying your favourite film with a croissant and a cup of coffee.

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Wind Study diagrams_©UNStudio
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Environmental Study diagrams_©UNStudio

The final design of the blocks was an output of the sun and wind studies. Since open terraces and the outdoors were used so much ,the comfort of the users on these open terraces was of prime importance, and to ensure this after the studies, open deck exposure to the sun was maximized while the exposure to prevailing winds was reduced. The design of the blocks was also affected by the adjoining buildings, as UN Studio designers did not want to adversely affect the sunlight reaching the neighbouring buildings. As a result, the design was created with as little overshadowing as possible.The facade is also perforated with strategically located steel framing elements to naturally ventilate the indoors too. Furthermore, the use of SOD roofing or green roofing reduces the thermal heat gain of the structure. The rainwater is reused, CO2 emissions are minimized, and mostly enclosed facades keep the building from excessively gaining heat.

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Sketch by Ben van Berkel_©UNStudio

The idea and design concept that UN Studio had was to extend the experience of the user beyond only watching the cinema or the black box experience. The designers wanted to give the users much more than this. They wanted this centre to be a cultural center, a social and interactive space where one could come to just enjoy the skyline of Paris from the terrace gardens, or to take in the experience of the multimedia art display area showcasing the art of cinema. There are three well-defined blocks in the design. These three blocks converge onto the foyer, from where the visitors can catch a glimpse of the movie-making process on the level below, giving the user a complete experience of the cinema.

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Sketch by Ben van Berkel_©UNStudio
The final design_©UNStudio


UN STUDIO (no date) Europacity Centre culturel dédié au 7ème art, UNStudio. Available at: (Accessed: October 26, 2022). 


Renuka is an Architect and an Urban Designer, based in Bangalore. Her interests lie in understanding public places' role in an Indian context. She has taken an active part in interactive workshops, where the emphasis was placed on the conservation of history in an ever-changing city. Urban design and architecture always tend to pique her interests.