Hydro-Productive Parks

Saint-Omer (FR) - Winner


Team Representative: Iris Chervet (FR) – architect, urbanist & landscaper

176 boulevard Berthier, 75017 Paris (FR)
+33 6 77 73 37 70 – agence@irischervet.fr – irischervet.fr

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I. Chervet


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

I responded to the competition by myself. As an architect and landscaper, I am very interested in transversal subjects. The site proposed at Saint-Omer seemed to be good for a project that intertwines the scales of the territory, and mobilizes both natural landscapes and inhabited environments.

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?

Saint-Omer is already a productive territory associated with water. However, the capacities to innovate of the industrial fabric raises questions, in a context of changing economic models and environmental transition. What relation between the geo-morphological identity of the local territory and its productive activities? What competitiveness scales are relevant? The project proposes to draw on the specific landscape of the marsh as a lever for a new productive and attractive economy, by setting up two “hydro-productive parks” that materialize the city-marsh and city-hill interfaces. The intercommunal scale “parks” amplify elementary landscapes and constitute a densification framework.


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

The cities of Saint-Omer, Arques and Salperwick have proposed a multi-site on an intercommunal scale, which challenges the very idea of a project perimeter. The site is understood on the scale of an urban bioregion, that is to say a geological space taking the inhabited environments into account rather than an administrative or political territory.
This scale makes it possible to explore the link between geology and industry, and to grasp the territory’s exposure to maritime dynamics in connection with future climatic variations. The rising sea levels by 2100 will favour Saint-Omer as a retreat destination. The two productive parks foreshadow these changes: one composes an evolving landscape capable of receiving the flood, while the other reveals the groundwater through archaeological landscape work and the deployment of geothermal energy as a lever for urban renovation.


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

I was interested in the question of the productive city from my studies on: I had worked as part of my diploma on the mutation of railway brownfield as a privileged urban logistics and landscape, in particular in contexts of dense cities. The research for a mutual enhancement of the city and the landscapes underpins my work and infuses the agency’s projects on different scales.
For this project, I drew on the work of Michel Desvignes for the Chain of parks at Euralens, and of the TER agency for the region of Aachen-Limburg, which are two examples of regional strategies pressing on the geology of a territory to bring out a common identity to several sites beyond administrative borders.
I also have several project references on coastal sites and I work regularly on the issue of water management. I was particularly inspired by a map showing the evolution course of the Mississippi river over the centuries, showing the power of the river and hydraulic dynamics through a colourful graphic representation.


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?

The bioregion scale raises the question of governance to carry out a large territory project. The project is available at 3 nested spatial and temporal scales:

- A prospective story by 2100 for the bioregion
- A strategic plan for intercommunality, by 2050
- Two "hydro-productive" parks with practical proposals at the local scale of the project sites, which can be set up in the shorter term and be carried by different actors in parallel.

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

I was the winner of the Europan 13 competition in Saint-Brieuc (FR) in 2015, wich allowed me to have my first access to public contract. From this project, I created my structure and developed my activity.
Europan represents access to order and offers a space for reflection and experimentation, which makes it possible to go beyond the classic framework of public order, with the objective of bringing this approach beyond the competition, in the production processes.



Office: ICA
Functions: Architecture, Urbanism, Landscape
Average age of the associates: 29 years old

Has your team, together or separately, already conceived or implemented some projects and/or won any competition? If yes, which ones?

Yes, I won the Europan 13 competition in Saint-Brieuc (FR) in 2015, and the Oostende Design Competition in 2016. I then developed the activity and worked on the Europan 13 follow-up (an urban strategy and the development of public spaces in the historical center).
I am currently working on various projects : a Tourist Office and a park, the development of the site of a former hospital, programming and assistance for a museum, downtown revitalization studies…