In Arcueil, an economically expanding commune of the southern inner suburbs of Paris, the place known as “La Vache Noire” (the Black Cow) is known to every driver as a traffic landmark and an extremely dangerous spot for pedestrians. Situated squarely in front of the new Vache Noire shopping center, this crossroads urgently needs to become a full-fledged square and a main entrance to the town. Today, like a multi-faceted personality reacting to the weather, the wind and the night, the traffic circle of the Vache Noire sometimes looms out of the mist, in its grove of forty-two 14-meter tall sequoias planted to form the spatial core of the new square. Surrounded by a band of Cor-Ten weathering steel, this center rises several centimeters above the level of the roundabout, imposing a new and different presence. A carpet of red Brazilian paving stones covers the ground, and a steel pedestrian alley snakes across them, making the roundabout accessible to passersby. The paving stones, like the steel pathway, create not only a visual movement that did not exist before, but also completely new movements of people. In the fall, when the dying leaves of the trees take on a coppery red tone, the square’s appearance is distinctly out of the ordinary: a red ensemble, and a cultivated landscape in the midst of roaring urban currents.

  • Program / Project: ARCUEIL / Square “Vache Noire”
  • Client: SADEV 94 + City of Arcueil
  • Project management: Agence Ter (lead consultant), COTEBA
  • Area: 3 ha
  • Date: 2006-2008
  • Amount: 4.5 M€
  • Location: Arcueil, France

ARCUEIL / Square “Vache Noire”