Team Representative: Simon Gabillard (FR) – landscape architect
Associates: Héloïse Boujou (FR) – landscape architect; Mercè Pages (ES) – architect
Contributors: Manon Bouju (FR), Manuel Hennin (FR) – economic analysts; Louise Bassigny (FR) – interior architect; Clément Berthollet (FR) – landscape architect
+33 6 42 94 72 43 – firstname.lastname@example.org
C. Bertholet, H. Bouju, L. Bassigny, M. Bouju, M. Hennin, S. Gabillard & M. Pages
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1. How did you form the team for the competition?
This team is a collaboration between two landscape architects from Versailles working in Barcelona and one catalan architect, sharing the same interest for public spaces and rural territories. This competition was the opportunity to enlarge the classical 'architect+landscape architect' urban project team by consulting experts from different discipline and fields of competence: interior design, economic analysts (patrimony and territorial development, access to housing), landscape and consultation.
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?
How do you live in a middle-sized city ? Living in the dense historical city centre, but with a car to get outside and public spaces to go running, playing, walking ? Living in the countryside or residential districts but coming easily to the city center for its services, works and commerces ? We were particularly interested in the dimension of the site project (XXha, almost 80% are open spaces), and in the work done by the municipality on revitalise the city center. We all grew up in middle-sized or small cities, and during this project we continuously asked ourselves : how do you do public spaces for such cities, where car is a daily necessity ? How do you consider car parks as public spaces ? how do you turn car parks into public spaces without wiping out the cars ? Our project considers the site as a mediator between the city center, urban spaces and the countryside open spaces. The Great Parc is an extensive public space with multiple uses, including car parks, energy production and activities. In Aurillac, the city center is productive, the countryside is productive. The site is at the interface : how can it be more than a service area, wiped out / faded by (the ubiquity of) cars and the closed walls of the Engie brownfield ? The Great Parc acts as an interface between productive activities, and as a place for emerging productions. As specialists of space design, it is not our role to decide which productive activity will be established, (no more than we can declare producing social link) - this is up to citizens and actors of Aurillac, and it requires dialogue with them. But we can design the frame : creating capable spaces that are hybrid, flexible, generous, mixed, that generate frictions and encounters - spaces to inspire and receive this activities.
3. How did this issue and the questions raised by the site mutation meet?
The Engie brownfield mutation raises numerous issues. What to do on this plot face-to-face with the historical city center ? How to take advantage of the slope ? And this mutation questions the adjacent spaces too : could we valorize better the Jordanne shores ? Do these car spaces have road dimensions instead of city dimensions ? Our project exploits and relies on the landscape structure drawn by the Jordanne and on the infrastructure inherited from the all-car system : broad, continuous, leveled, open and easily transformable. The aim is to turn a monofunctionality (cars, cars, cars and a small promenade) into hybridity : Landscape / Urbanity / Mobility / Ecology / Production.
4. Have you treated this issue previously? What were the reference projects that inspired yours?
For the competition Up Albâtre Territory (Grand Prix, 2016) Héloïse et Simon had developed the notion of landscape infrastructure and explored different ways of bringing energy production into public spaces, integrating it into the daily lived spaces of the territory. Mercè's diploma project (Girona, 2016) considered the industrial harbor in Roses (ES), and how to open it to the city making the productive activities and the urban public space coexist. Several references have fed our reflexion, especially projects that explore a form of hybridity by crossing the uses. For example projects which successfully melt cars into public space : as the parking / toboggan run / rooftop garden in Sweden, the parking inserted in topography in Vitré, the urban road exchanger in the Réunion island or places which put together different activities, as Les Grands Voisins, a former hospital in Paris. But also the same projects of Aurillac city impulsed a direction that our project follows : renovation of the Market Hall, rehabilitation of the Saint Géraud Square, shared housing in old buildings, etc.
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?
Our project comes from the politics led by the municipality (city center revitalization, city contract 'positive energy for green growth' on the Jordanne…). The Great Parc, a landscape equipment structured by the Jordanne River, is nothing but an ambition, a guide-line. It is a global framework, that can adapt and evolve following the opportunities. It offers possibilities on different timescales, mobilizing different actors : public plots easily transformed by differentiated management, public plots requiring development project of public space, private plots to acquire, depollute, renovate and build… The Great Parc starts very quickly but at the same time tends to be a long term process of negotiation and participation. Moreover, our reflection integrates a big flexibility in the building programmation and allows future evolution of the parkings spaces. The temporal cycles and city annual rhythm are also taken into account as important components of the project (street theatre festival, markets, summer and winter specific climates…).
6. Is it the first time you have been awarded a prize at Europan? How could this help you in your professional career?
This is the first time we have been awarded for Europan and we are very happy. We really hope it will give us access to orders, we are eager to deepen this project and keep working with our team. Europan is the opportunity for us but also for the municipality of Aurillac to experiment (slightly different ? unusual ? unconventional ?) different methods to think about the city evolution enabling a dialogue with and between the teams leading to possible events and workshop. Besides, the prize we received will help us funding a research project we have about agricultural structures and territorial adaptation to climate change.