Looking ever so much like a spaceship that has landed to take on passengers, the Bercy 2 Commercial Center is bounded on three sides by river, freeway, and railroad track, just outside the city limits of Paris. It was constructed from 1987 to 1990 by Renzo Piano, a world-renowned architect and winner of a number of prestigious awards. The roof is composed of 27,000 panels of stainless steel mounted on laminated-wood beams. Although futuristic looking on the outside, the interior would look familiar to anyone who frequents modern shopping centers. The structure is handsome and spacious inside, and while ascending the gentle slopes of the escalators, one can see the porthole skylights and the curves of the ribcage-like supports of the roof.
Pedestrian access to the commercial center is by bus 24, which stops at the entrance.
Mr. Piano also designed the famous Centre Pompidou, built in Paris from 1971 to 1978, as well as many other spectacular buildings throughout the world.