A tiny public market hall in Lacoste, France

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For the reason of this assignment, I chose to design a public small market hall in downtown Lacoste, France. A market hall is an open space which is normally meant for conducting commercial things to do and in some instances civil functions. It can also be referred as a marketplace.

Design and Structure

My market hall is designed to serve a variety of purposes. it is consisted of three buildings: the main central shape measured 300 Square ft., and two subordinate wings, each one is measured 400 Square ft. The fundamental central building is partially linked to the subordinate wings, and is divided with a barrel vault walkway that leads to a public space and a fountain surrounded by the complex. It’s consisted of two levels. The floor level provides a 300 Square ft. of storage, and the standard floor where the market supervisor’s office and a private space, to host merchants’ meetings, are located. The side wings provide in total an 800 Square ft. of covered space for vendors to conduct business activities. A place where business people can bring their goods or rather products to sell to interested customers.

Architectural Inspiration

The architectural structure of the market hall, mainly the central building, features many architectural elements of The City Market in Charleston, South Carolina, which was designed by the architect Edward Brickwell White in 1984. (Fig.1) Both designs feature the Greek Revival architectural style, an empire style associated with the renovation of Paris, that Napoleon III adopted in France. The market hall’s main building is a large Greek Revival edifice, standing two storeys in height and resting on atop a rusticated open ground-level arcade that is directed to the courtyard. It has double flight of stairs with elaborate iron work lead to a portico that contains four Doric columns to support the entablature and pediment. The floor plan of the market hall is designed in a rational method based on Jean-Nicolas-Louis Durand’s architectural design theory. Duran believed that the appropriate way to design a building is by organizing its architectural elements in a clear and hierarchical system so it would automatically reflect its appropriate character. This design method, which I employed in my design, is also an important key component to show the Enlightenment and social hierarchy in architecture. The essence of having merchants and supervisor’s office situated at the floor is to feature a social symbol of authority and social hierarchy. The two storeys central building highlights the distinction of social profile between the public and the supervisors. To reinforce this idea, the main building also has a two-staircase accesses on its sides to the roofs of the market halls’ wings, where narrow walkways are provided in order to watch the commoners and conduct commercial activities.

Historical Context

It was until the late 18th c where market halls started to gain social and economic importance. Originally market halls were only built for purposes of trading; exchange of goods and services. However, by late 19th century, architectural designers started to include more services apart from just buying and selling stalls. Market halls then began a whole inclusive place containing all social and economic amenities. “They came to be a new way of promoting a new sort of connectedness to place and society among city dwellers dismayed by the increasingly impersonal nature of urban life”.. George Godwin, the editor of The Builder magazine, argued that “the market hall as an architectural language went beyond merely providing escape from the ugliness of industrialization” It has a social functionalism linked social ideals to architecture. In my design, the key reason to situate a public garden in the middle space between the two market hall’s wings is the aesthetic principle of social functionalism. The public garden of the market hall provides a civic place for visual communication between people.

The Design Concept

Most of the 19th c buildings feature the use of the combination of iron and glass, an improvement that has been introduced by the industrial revolution. In my design, the market halls’ wings are arcaded structures with pediment roofs surrounded by narrow walkways. Instead of having a fully enclosed roof, the pedimnted glass roofs erected on iron beams are placed to provide the market needed natural light. The roof ridges are glazed on the side where the sun light can be obtained. Ornamintaion are eliminated in my design according to Durand, the goal of my building is reflect utility.

Construction and Materials

The central building is constructed in the form of a building envelope where the floor, the roof and the walls of the building are merged together in order to enhance its stability and support business activities. The exterior walls of the market are made of bricks reinforced by brownstone to enhance stability and robustness. Market halls wings’ walls are constructed from red brick and quoined corners.


Fig.1 The City Market in Charleston, South Carolina, Edward Brickwell White,1984.


  • Etlin, Richard A. 1994. Symbolic space: French enlightenment architecture and its legacy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

  • Schmiechen, James, and Kenneth Carls. 1999. The british market hall: A social and architectural history. New Haven: Yale University Press:

  • Pevsner, Nikolaus, Sir. 1976. A history of building types. Vol. 35;19;. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press: 235

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