Logistics hubs, enjoy the city of tomorrow’s new benefits

Designed by the Chartier-Dalix and Jacques Ferrier Architectures offices, the “ville multi-strates” (multi-layered city) project located above the Boulevard Périphérique of Paris will contribute to developing a great quality of urban life, by providing housing, office space, a school of horticulture, a tea house and fields of tea plants on the rooftop.


Mixed-use buildings are gradually replacing the traditional separation of business activities in order to combine the busy and pleasant aspects of a city. Partner architect of the Chartier-Dalix office, Frédéric Chartier shares his vision of integrating logistics platforms and innovative delivery vehicles to the life of the city.

Cities have to face a new challenge: e-commerce. Online shopping, which directly results in home delivery, continues to considerably grow in Europe and is driven by cross-border e-commerce performance, which according to Forrester, is expected to increase by 35% between 2015 and 2018 and amount to 40 billion euros. “Today, there is a definite need for new ideas aimed at sustaining business and urban delivery, while relieving congested traffic routes and addressing the environmental issue”, explains Frédéric Chartier, whose agency has been designing many large-scale mixed-use building programmes since the late 2000s.

Today, everything must be thought of as an overall system, which means a greener, more efficient and less congested city”, says the architect. To achieve this goal, we must reinvent the last-mile transport through diversified methods of transport. We aim to prevent heavy polluting vehicles from accessing the city centre. “This will require building mixed-use buildings with logistics hubs”, says Frédéric Chartier.

Mixed-use buildings bringing together production, consumption and delivery

Various works achieved by the Chartier-Dalix office meet this requirement. Porte des Ternes in Paris, a small logistics hub, has thus been included in a housing and office building project. Delivery trucks will drive through the Boulevard Périphérique of Paris to deliver the goods to the logistics hub. Low emission light-duty vehicles will then take over the delivery. Therefore, “logistics hubs are not designed as ‘shoebox’ buildings anymore, but as mixed-use buildings, and also living areas and meeting places”, says Frédéric Chartier.

The logistics hotel of the ZAC (Urban Development Zone) des Ardoines in the Paris area designed by the agency intends to go even further, as it includes a logistics hub on the ground floor, another floor used for small-scale industry activities, in addition to 10,000 square metres dedicated to urban agriculture. By mixing professional practices, the building thereby contributes to bringing together production, consumption and delivery. “We can create all kinds of synergies between these business activities”, adds Frédéric Chartier. For instance, a fleet of autonomous vehicles can carry agricultural production from the logistics hub and offer the local population a mobility solution.”

Autonomous electric vehicles promoting local life

Autonomous electric delivery vehicles, such as the ones designed by Renault, fit perfectly with our appealing vision for the future of cities. “I believe these vehicles can become mixed-use vehicles, just like our buildings. They have great potential in terms of services, as they can carry goods and people, they can become mobile kiosks, provide services, and so on. As the delivery business has now expanded, it will be able to play a greater role in the local life and uses of the city”, predicts Frédéric Chartier.

Furthermore, these vehicles will be able to operate continuously and on irregular hour shifts without interfering with traffic, and also respond to the challenge on air quality and ensure peace and quiet to the population.

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