The metropolis of Nantes-Saint-Nazaire, historically a dispersed group of villages, has changing over time from an inhabited countryside to a true metropolis. This political recalibration of the territory engenders a reevaluation of the intrinsic qualities countryside as well as the central city. The project demands an understanding of how this countryside, a natural area that makes up a large majority of the metropolitan area, can now become collective spaces for the 90% of the people that do not inhabit it on a day to day basis. The question is also what proportion of these spaces can contribute to a collective, shared identity for the metropolis.

The study for the coastal interface tends to interpret the territory based on the insular character of the peninsula of Guérande. The notion of edges, understood here as critical zones of interaction and interfaces between two distinct environments, helps formulate a conceptual and operational answer. This macro-approach demonstrates how the edges can play a role in the overall strategy, as a tool to understand the land but also as a project thickness. It is a transversal tool that allows to address multiple problematics simultaneously (tourism, ecology, urban development, properties, etc …). The edges become strategic places, important yet fragile. Our reading of the territory allows us to highlight three types of edges that can be leveraged for the territory’s transformation: the coastal edge, the counter-coastal edge and the in-between edge.

The ambition is to create a vision of the territory on a large scale, to understand the different forces that are present and how the landscape will structure this vision. Finally, shifting to a human scale, three project areas between Pornichet and Saint-Nazaire are investigated in greater detail and provide a testing ground of large-scale strategies by confronting them with site-specific realities.

  • Program / Project: SAINT-NAZAIRE / Coastline
  • Client: Metropolis of Nantes Saint-Nazaire / Carene
  • Project management: Agence Ter (lead designer) + Magnum (architects) + Alphaville (programming) + Arcadis (engineering)
  • Area: 2000 ha
  • Date: 2017-2019
  • Location: Saint-Nazaire, France