NANTERRE / Les Groues neighborhood
The urban renewal project Les Groues aims to transform an industrial, polluted site into a new and attractive neighborhood. The site takes advantage of the proximity of the future station Nanterre La Folie, a line served by the RER E and line 15 of the Greater Paris Express network.
The degraded site conditions and the desire to create a neighborhood where well-being, biodiversity and landscape form an essential part of its identity demanded a new methodology and presented a unique solution: the vertical ecosystem. This concept is translated into the “sources of life”, planted groves between 10 to 15m wide and of varying densities that allow for an ecological intensification in all layers between the subsurface and the sky, creating biodiversity and ecological connectivity with the logic of stepping-stones.
The diverse environments created engender various atmospheres and thus accommodate a range of social and ecological functions. The density of the vegetation determines whether one can linger and inhabit the space while buffering the intensity of urban life by reconnecting it to nature.
In this project, nature in the city becomes a real source of biodiversity and of ecosystem function such as flood protection, heat island reduction, bioclimatic regulation, ecological corridors, food production, all critical for climate change resilience.
AMIENS / The three worlds
Amiens benefits from an exceptional context between city and nature. On the one hand there is the renewed city centre, the cathedral and the Perret Tower as recognizable points from a distance, the vibrant neighbourhood of Saint-Leu, etc. On the other hand, there are many beautiful urban parks, the Somme, the floating gardens and the nearby countryside.
The new neighbourhood of The Valley is interacting with both conditions, as it has a direct proximity to the station and to the city center, but is at the same time very closely related to the Somme River. The project recognizes and amplifies these qualities and conditions in order to attract young active inhabitants and families, to receive tourists, to house students and to develop the small industries related to the station.
The project aims to create the in-between: the hyphen between the two banks, between different heights and between mineral and natural. The diverse and innovative programming is complementary with the current offers and is respectful of history and the urban context.
The potential of each of the three sites is developed in coherence with its program and its direct context, in order to smoothen the transitions and to accommodate the intense city as well as the peaceful neighbourhood. The project aims to create a dynamic and sustainable tissue.
SAINT-LOUIS / Gol neighborhood
The perimeter of the Gol neighborhood extends from the Gol canyon to the Papaye canyon and the cane fields in the North. Three major territorial strategies allow for the creation of this future project:
- The canyons: legible marks in the landscape and leverage for future development
- The topography: an east-west logic that is invisible today but can support future project design
- The existing and future clusters: cultural centers, schools, sports and commercial centers as well as historical cores become important guides for the new project.
Pasteur Avenue and its Squares
Pasteur Avenue will once again become a backbone for the neighborhood. With a clearly defined start and ending, the Avenue is articulated and defined by 5 structuring squares.
The Great Threshold
A new North-South edge evolves in step with the emerging diversity of neighborhoods through which it passes. This threshold is a way provide broad open space and at the same time emphasize the exceptional natural characteristics of the site.
A reorganization of pathways within the neighborhood allows for new connections between points of interest that help to define the inhabitants’ trajectories.
This new armature allows a reconsideration of different scales of the project and touches upon all the major project themes: from local to territorial scales and from landscape to urban problematics.
ASNIERES-SUR-SEINE / Business Park Development
Developed on a 16ha site with an extensive urban edge facing the Seine River, the project site of the Business Park development is connected by the RER train station Les Grésillons which will soon be linked to the Greater Paris Express. An eco-neighborhood is planned here on the foundation of an urban design concept developed Christian Devillers and now led by Agence Ter as urban and landscape designers.
Layers of urban and landscape spaces are the founding concepts for public space design and their relation to the built clusters. Three major layers are imagined:
- The “resilient” layer: the unified and porous soil in direct contact with the river. This layer uses the proximity of water to fertilize the soil (techniques includes continuous water storage along the roads and the introduction of swales and reservoirs in the park).
- The “productive” layers”: represented by the intermediary terraces nestled on various elevations and supporting the possibility of urban agriculture
- The “biodiversity” layer that reinforces the aesthetic and function of the forested belvederes. This new skyline creates ecological stepping stones to support migrating bird species.
Here, public space, seen as performing a range of functions, plays a key role in the evolution of the overall image of this mixed-use quarter, itself a strategic site within a transforming territory.
DIEPENBEEK / Campus
An eco-campus for Diepenbeek
The continuous development of the site of the campus in Diepenbeek demands a reflection on larger scales. Occupying a strategic position between Hasselt, Genk and Diepenbeek, the site is related to larger-scale environmental conditions including ecologically active areas and flood zones. Thus the project is conceptualized at a regional scale rather than delimited by the site of today’s campus. Various elements inform this new masterplan that will structure the campus’ growth for the coming decade: water, ecology, slow and public transport, built structures.
A central urban axis will organize the expansion of the campus. This new east-west backbone, largely composed of public space, is a great connector and collector that weaves together academic faculties, research institutes and campus services buildings. This central structure will act as the new spine of the campus, welcoming students to professional life, cultural and social activities.
The spatial strategy for the expansion of the campus is inspired by the three characteristic landscapes of the site: the forests and lakes along the Miezerikbeek, the meadows of the Demer Valley and the agricultural fields surrounded by planted dykes. Diverse typologies and principles are developed in order to reinforce these landscapes, all with respect for their contributions to enriching biodiversity.
As a fundamental strategy, the campus will transform by adjusting mobility and parking strategies, introducing a north-south connection of public spaces and a hub for public transport and by reinforcing the characteristic landscapes of the territory.
The first expansion of the campus will be structured within the landscape of the agricultural fields and planted dykes, where the central east-west axis will be densified and actively programmed.
LE VESINET / Eco-neighbourhood of Parc Princesse
The eco-neighbourhood of the Park Princesse is the last land development opportunity for the town of Le Vésinet, allowing the creation of a new residential neighbourhood and facilities. On this site, the imposing historical monument of Vésinet Hospital (imperial asylum inaugurated in 1875) becomes a central element for the future neighbourhood. The site is almost entirely planted with trees, giving the hospital an emblematic status at the heart of this garden city, designed and developed since the mid-19th century by the French landscape gardener Paul de Lavenne, Count of Choulot.
Our objective for the eco-neighbourhood of the Park Princesse is to successfully integrate new development into this in this constrained site. A housing typology is proposed which respects the founding concepts and design principles of the town, whilst meeting the objectives of urban densification. In accord with the ‘Vesinet Ideal ‘ of inhabiting nature, this typology seeks an alternative high quality model, where the characterizing principles of the typical Vésinet mansion inspire and inform collective residential buildings with visually permeable ground floors , and views from the upper storeys and inhabited roofs oriented towards the landscape .
By retaining the maximum of the remarkable trees and valorizing the existing woodlands and natural environments, the project reinforces the landscape structure. Buildings are positioned in the clearings of the woodland, where the soil is less fertile or on the site of former constructions. The project encourages stakeholder implication with customized consultation and a programme of neighbourhood study groups focusing on the public space/private space interfaces and a peaceful, low nuisance construction site. Finally, environmental goals are crucial, shown through a systemic and transversal approach of the different parameters of sustainable development.
AUBERVILLIERS / Condorcet Campus
On a site of 5.4 hectares, the city of Aubervilliers will welcome the largest university campus dedicated to research and education in humanities and social sciences. The development of this site forms part of a wider urban renewal process: the new neighborhood has a dual role of articulation: between the various elements of the campus, but also between the campus and the city. This articulation is achieved using three main principles: the “Park Campus”, the “Avenue of Humanity” and the “Active Plinth”.
The Condorcet Campus is a “Park Campus”, a soothing green oasis in the midst of the hard landscapes of the South of the Saint-Denis Plain. It offers a large and generous green space that extends the structure of vegetation of the surrounding streets into the landscape of the campus. This densification of vegetation assures an essential climatic function and fosters biodiversity, whilst offering a comfortable outdoor space.
The second figure, the “Avenue of Humanity”, creates the back bone of the project; it is a North-South axis with a generous width. It reunites the different institutions and constitutes their addresses. It is inflected to pass through the important new Documentary Centre and connects in one stroke the metro stop ‘Front Populaire’ with the tramway, while giving direct access to the ‘RER’ local trains on the North side.
The “Active Plinth” imagines the ground floors of all of the campus buildings as a very transparent and permeable continuity, not only visually permeable but also physically accessible. This “Active Plinth” with a height of 4.5 meters, includes the entry halls of the various institutions, and also related facilities that are open to residents and students.
LILLE / Multilom
The urban project of Multilom is an opportunity to bring a paradigm shift to a largely paved-over, industrial site that currently lacks any enduring vegetation or natural landscapes. Not only can the project become a site for a rich and diverse landscape framework, it can also establish a strategy for an urban ecosystem, a hybridization of city and landscape. By removing the presence of cars on the site, greater experiential diversity can emerge with an expanded palette of spatial conditions ranging from very intimate to extremely public.
The first action within the strategic framework is to restore the interface between the atmosphere and the subterranean environment by rehabilitating the largely impermeable and sterile soil. This allows for the planning of new hydrological and ecological connections, horizontal as well as vertical. Rainwater is crucial for the site and acts as a climate regulator, its infiltration and proper management is a primary condition for a biodiversity to emerge, an effect reinforced by the planting of a dense tree canopy.
The second action proposes highly detailed organization of transitions from public spaces to private terraces. This diverse treatment of spaces allows for a rich collection of social relationships. The absence of any road structure, apart from service roads, aids in the structuring of these spaces.
The third action, in relation to the second, proposes developing a “productive landscape.” The productive landscape includes the installation of a large collectively tended garden as well as the introduction of small orchards in the heart of the urban blocks.
STRASBOURG / 2 banks development
The project of the Two Banks Territory is the last phase of the Strasbourg’s ambitious policy to reclaim the spaces of the former port. Starting from the city zones of Heyritz, Malraux and Danube, this dynamic is amplified by the extension of the tramway line D to Kehl. With a façade of the city along the water’s edge and a new entrance to the metropolis on the Rhine, Strasbourg has initiated a project of an exceptional dimension.
The project is developed along three structural axes.
First and foremost, the conditions that allow for the coexistence between the city and the port are created. The emergence of this hybrid urban tissue where housing and commercial activities go hand in hand starts with the urban integration of infrastructures, with soft landscape treatment to interfaces and the programming of activities in the ground floor spaces.
Secondly, the project seeks to develop an urban strategy based on the pre-existent landscape base. The Rhine territory is structured by water declined in all its forms. A set of canals, docks and basins give form and direction to the urbanization. Public spaces are deployed along the banks, reinforcing their role as structuring urban connectors. These spaces allow the development of a green landscape structure on a metropolitan scale and assure the installation an ambitious slow transportation system.
Finally, the project of the “ZAC Deux-Rives” is witness to a new way of living and of using public space. An adaptable large square adapts to varied uses and events, while ample space and sport facilities are available to encourage active sports. Furthermore, we see the emergence of a new type of public space, at the same time natural & wild, extensive, and influenced by the river, that is offered here as a benefit for the residents.
CAMPINAS / Sede Bradina Farm
This project is situated in a valley territory of 101 ha, structured by hills and watercourses, revealing the surrounding dense urban landscape of Campinas. The large dimension of the project allows for a reinvention of an urban model, where the revitalization of the soil becomes the base of a new urban ecosystem.
Firstly, an augmented biodiversity, the permeability of the ground and an adapted water and flood risk management, a climatic comfort and a control of energy resources are proposed. As a result, a new urban model is articulated where density and environmental equilibrium can coexist.
Secondly, the introduction of new uses, of neighbourhoods, of new ways of living are developed in a direct relationship with the landscape. A program of 12 200 housing units, amenities, offices and commercial spaces are designed as “La Cidade dos Sentidos” (The City of Senses), together with its “Art of Life”. The preservation of the geomorphology of the site and its landscapes is necessary to create the vital prerequisites that will structure the essential elements of the city: a diversity of landscapes and atmospheres throughout the urban structure.
“La Cidade dos Sentidos” is a sustainable city and at the same time a place where people want to live. The “Art of Life” is the base concept and reflection that allows for the creation of an architectural diversity, an urban mix and uses of the public realm. The art of life is also reflected in the creation of user-friendly, warm and qualitative public spaces, that allow for a new culture of well-being (gastronomy, physical activities, leisure, …), all woven in a dense urban tissue, which allows for a continuity with the existing density of the city. The qualities of the natural environments allow for a counter-balance for the active and economic dynamisms of the high-density fabric.