Le Parc des Falaises

Marly (CH) – Winner


Team Representative: Cristian Panaité (RO) – architect urbanist; Associates: Mircea Munteanu (RO) – urban planner  

Chaussée d'Alsemberg 287 BP.9, 1190 Bruxelles – Belgique
+32 485 441 079 – c.panaa@gmail.com

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C. Panaité and M. Munteanu



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

Ten years ago we were both studying architecture in Brussels and discovered common professional affinities. After a consistent period of practice in architecture and urbanism and of postgraduate studies in urbanism we felt it was time to channel our common interests and put our team to the test.


2. How do you define the main issue of your project, insisting on how you answered on this session main topic: adaptability and urban rhythms?

The main challenge was to improve Marly's urbanity while taking stock of its natural and built surroundings and the privileged position of the Winkler site. The backbone of this new development is a linear public space anchored in the cantonal road at one end and blending into the existing open space network at the other end. It works as a multi-layered urban infrastructure cumulating roles stretching from slow traffic corridor and catalyser of urban amenities to market place, recreational garden, rainwater retention body, ecological corridor or urban farm. On the Northern edge of the plateau this space is framed by 'Marly skyline' - a series of towers defining Marly’s entrance silhouette – while on the other side by 'Marly gardens' - a 'garden-city' strip of parallel lower-rise blocks and row-houses that allow for the existing linear green corridors identified in the South to be continued up to the park. On the outer edge of this central development a road effectively services the entire site while maintaining a small presence and footprint. If the central space is 'the spine', this typical section towers-park-rows is 'the DNA' of the development allowing for various gradual and adaptive implementation scenarios, while leading to a new, more coherent neighborhood structure.


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

The new development adapts intimately to the existing urban fabric and open space structure. Nevertheless, it is not subjugated by the context, but rather capitalizes on the existing urban rhythms (both physical ones such as the rhythm of blocks of flats or the rhythms of linear open spaces between the houses in the South, social ones –such as the slow traffic flows– or ecological ones –such as the cycles of rainwater or the rhythms of local ecosystems). These rhythms are integrated, enhanced and multiplied, producing eventually a new character and identity for the entire neighborhood.
The Saint-Sacrement buildings and the adjacent sports field are preserved and consolidated by the addition of a multifunctional hall/community centre and various amenities for the sports field (seating, changing rooms, showers, cafe). In the future the Saint-Sacrement house can extend its student housing function. 
The development proposes thus a new relationship with the boulevard leading to the Pérolles bridge, which can become a model for its long-term upgrading as well. Thus the boulevard can become a parkway, with the pedestrian and cycle traffic embedded in a tree-planted strip and with new pocket-public spaces perpendicular to the road developed strategically at bus stops or around public buildings. 
The functional mix of education, living, working and leisure will ensure a diverse population both in terms of age and occupation, allowing for a livable place but also an economically active area around the day and year.


4. Have you already treated this issue previously and could you present some reference projects that inspired yours?

We draw upon three references that speak of some of the defining features of our project:

  • Atelier 5's Halen Siedlung demonstrates how new dense architecture can fit in a natural site without erasing its beauty, while triggering a complex urbanity with new living situations;
  • Mourice Leroux's Villeurbanne is a positive example of how a strong architectural form leads to a high quality urban space;
  • Last but not least, The Mall in Washington is an emblematic 'urban void' that works as the defining formal feature of an urban development but also as a functional bundle of infrastructures and amenities, allowing people to appropriate the space with various activities.


5. Today – within the era of an economic crisis and sustanibility – the urban-architectural project should reconsider its production method in time; how did you integrate this issue in your project?

The scheme allows for a gradual and adaptive implementation, starting with the central public space and a first section of the 'DNA' (a tower and a row) that give identity to the development. The plots of land in 'Marly gardens' can be divided and cultivated from the beginning, to be built only later and progressively as the need arises. The scheme allows for adaptations in time, easily increasing or decreasing the density of each new section or changing the ratio between houses, apartments or amenities.


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

As this is the first time we participate, it is also the first time we are awarded. We consider Europan a prestigious prize, but what actually attracted us most in the competition was that it provides an unique common ground, a platform for reflection on the future of cities in Europe.