Toulouse (FR) - Special mention


Team Representative: Julien Romane (FR) – architect
Associates: Antonin Amiot (FR) – landscape engineer; Geoffrey Clamour (FR) – architect
Contributors: Elise Triacca (FR) – urbanist architect; Thierry Maeder (CH) – geographer 

Les Marneurs
24 Rue Saint-Bernard, 75011 Paris (FR)  –

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G. Clamour, A. Amiot, E. Triacca & J. Romane 


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1. How did you form the team for the competition?

Our collective, Les Marneurs, was created in 2016. It brings together members from different backgrounds and professions that share a commitment to the fields of urban planning, landscape and architecture. Three main themes structure our projects: ways of living, risk and resources. For the Europan 14 session, we expanded the team of complementary profiles (including a geographer) to better understand the complexity of the dynamics involved.

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?

In Balma-Gramont, the question of resources and their consumption, production and preservation guided our thinking. On this site, which is both singular and generic, numerous urban and economic typologies (i.e. supercentres, shops, distribution and craft premises, offices, road infrastructure, private land and suburban housing) coexist within an economically unsustainable area of the territory. Our goal was to invent a new way of living, producing and consuming for this region that embraces the meaning of local resources and provides a new solution that could be applied to the 10% of the French territory sharing the same fate.
Long relegated to the outskirts of cities, part of the background of our lifestyles, the activities of such zones could move to the forefront to present an example of sustainable living. The areas surrounding cities could become an archipelago of productive landscapes, in symbiosis with the local geography and a balanced economic and social fabric. What if tomorrow Balma-Gramont, Labège or Blagnac were to become the "Ressourceries" of the Toulouse metropolis?


3. How did this issue and the questions raised by the site mutation meet?

Balma-Gramont business park is located at the edge of Toulouse, but is also connected to Lauragais. Our response was to make resource management the foundation of a coherent spatial project. The technique, urban form, economic and social aspects work together with the landscape to form a productive and sustainable urbanism. New solidarities are thus generated and retrace the lost link between Toulouse and its agricultural plain, while reconnecting the valley of Hers, the zone of activity and the future ZAC. Cross-country roads are structured from East to West along which "added values" form to combine resource management equipment, mixed programs and public spaces.
This new network, boosting the existing fabric, also tends to reduce pressure on the land and questions the programming and construction needs of Balma-Gramont ZAC, whose project extends over Lauragais' arable land.



4. Have you treated this issue previously? What were the reference projects that inspired yours?

We have already worked on the problem of the rational densification of the activity zones. Our collective has also worked on the issues of resource management and energy transition on the Alabaster Coast (FR) and more recently in Belle-Île-en-Mer (FR). We are aware of the current project at Praille West in Geneva (CH), which addresses issues related to the logistical operation of the business area and the development of new residential neighbourhoods.
Also, the artisanal city of Valbonne (FR) by Comte Vollenweider Architects, serves as a good example of inventing compact and shared "typologies of activity". Other achievements such as the New York Freshkills Park or the Greenwich Peninsula project in England have also inspired us with their resource management strategy. More modest initiatives of temporary reactivation of unused spaces (roofs, parking, wasteland, etc.) have also fuelled our reflections.


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?

Balma-Gramont site is comprised of a fragmented landscape revealing a set of actors with diverging interests. Institutional players (with the exception of the military) seek a metropolitan influence while deriving an economic benefit from their land. Private actors aim at expanding their respective activities without seeking an overall urban coherence. By identifying the operating modes of the actors, the project builds a collective management strategy organized around the management of resources and waste.
This vision of a possible future in Balma-Gramont could trigger a dialogue between the different actors involved in the site. Several major axes of development and transformation of places could thus emerge around the theme of resources, including new architectural and urban forms; the enhancement of the hydrological and geological logics of the site as well as creating dynamics of redistribution, pooling, reuseg and recycling. Such a global vision of the site could thus withstand the fluctuations of political transitions and translate to all levels of governance (i.e. private owners, cities, metropolises, institutions, associations, etc.).

6. Is it the first time you have been awarded a prize at Europan? How could this help you in your professional career?

Yes, this is our first time participating. Winning this special mention will undoubtedly give more visibility to our collective, which intersects sustainable territorial construction with creating narratives of the urban project and landscape.