Team Representative: François Massin Castan (FR) – architect
Associate: Julie Travers (FR) – architect
Contributor: Mélanie Richaud (FR) – architecture student
66 Rue d'Allonville, 44000 Nantes (FR)
+33 787 201 580 – email@example.com – framascas.com
M. Richaud, J. Travers & F. Massin Castan
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1. How did you form the team for the competition?
Our team was put together for Europan 14, uniting our complementary approaches in our own daily practices. Even though we all come from an architectural background, our different career paths, show very distinctive experiences and visions when it comes to cities and territories. The site of Evreux, far from being limited to the train station and the city centre, brought to light challenges, on numerous levels, that each of us explored in order to identify issues allowing a multi-layered project process to emerge.
2. How do you define the main issue of your project, and how did you answer on this session main topic: the place of productive activities within the city?
Our initial stance was to consider the productive features of a city as its capacity to generate exchanges of any kind, encouraging the meeting of different users with various chronotypes. These exchanges – whether they are goods, services, or knowledge – make the city for the most part. Our proposal aims at identifying conducive situations for encounters in the existing urban fabric, with potential for programs and users to come into contact with one another. Taking the form of ‘articulations’ involving both mobility interfaces and productive activities, these multi-scalar interventions initiate new, hybrid places for social links. This phenomenon may be observed already in certain large-scale projects nowadays. For example, the gradual fusion between public transport interfaces and activities that we see in modern stations or airports, thus rapidly transforming them into shopping malls capable of dealing with multiple flows. However, we imagine more local, social and adaptable synergies for this type of contemporary mutations, and the site of Evreux appears to be relevant for exploring these new ways of creating productive encounters. “Organising the exchange of mobility, to stimulate the mobility of exchanges” may sum up the overall goal of our project.
3. How did this issue and the questions raised by the site mutation meet?
Although they are inextricably linked, the futures of the train station and the city centre are conditioned by constraints coming from the territorial scale and are made of different nature. On one hand, there is a symptom related to the topography of the valley, where upper and lower parts set themselves apart from each other, having difficulties to dialogue. Numerous parallel trails on the hillsides (main roads, river, railways…) amplify this linear segmentation of the city. On the other hand, we observe this recurring phenomenon of monofunctional divisions, leading to a more sectored and less interconnected urban fabric. Therefore, we wish to establish a revelatory, articulative and non-fixed method, in order to convert these defaults into assets. By specific adjustments, it inserts an intermediary and hybrid dimension into urban moments with strong potential. The site of the train station is on these articulations and its evolution must be sustained by these surrounding experiences.
4. Have you treated this issue previously? What were the reference projects that inspired yours?
Without directly dealing with the issue of a ‘productive city’, we have been confronted to related questions on infrastructure mutations, located interventions, mobility and landscape during our studies and our professional experiences. The numerous references we provide for our research share a significant interest for exceeding a programmatic and functional answer, and for the added value brought by inclusive processes.
5. Urban-architectural projects like the ones in Europan can only be implemented together with the actors through a negotiated process and in time. How did you consider this issue in your project?
This such issue was a major part of the first step of our reflection, similar to our analysis, as we consider it as essential for a relevant urban proposal. Previous sessions of the ‘adaptable cities’ highlighted this reality. This proposal is based on the capability to intervene on the North-South axis by small touches, according to the project holders, temporalities, and adapted operational procedures, while keeping the collective goal of a unifying axis between different urban entities of Evreux. Various initiatives and involvement levels may then come to life, making as many potential and independent interventions. They initiate a reflective mechanism which becomes the urban project, leading each of the actors to question, participate and exchange, in other words to collectively contribute to the production of its city. Each actor can find a place in this process.
6. Is it the first time you have been awarded a prize at Europan? How could this help you in your professional career?
It is the first time indeed. Through this, we aimed at confronting intuitions, ideas and methods before a panel of experts, then at having the possibility to push them further in a real and committed context with the concerned actors. The shared moments which will follow, whether they are with Europan during forums or with the representative actors of the site, are a way of learning from others’ points of view about a topic which will surely be a major factor in our professions in the years to come. Beyond the competition, we see the Europan process as a proactive breeding ground that shows the upcoming issues for our professions. While looking at future contributions for public or private actors, through this prize, we wish to show our ability to bring about relevant and prospective scenarios on architectural and urban scales.