Aurillac (FR)


Project Scales L/S - urban and architectural

Location Département du Cantal, City of Aurillac, city centre

Population Conurbation 57,000 inhab., City 26,572 inhab.

Strategic site 50 ha – Project site 7.3 ha

Site proposed by / Actors involved City of Aurillac in partnership with SEBA15 (Semi-public development company for the Aurillac Basin), Cantal UDAP (public architecture and heritage office for Cantal) and Caisse des Dépôts (public management office)

Owner of the site Community of Aurillac and ENGIE (parcelle AN 240) and the old offices of the public veternary services DSV (Cantal County Council)

Post-competition phase urban and/or architectural feasibility studies and/or project development to initiate with partners

Team representative architect, uban planner, lanscaper

More Information

How can the site contribute to the productive city?

The site is on the left bank of the river, pendant to the medieval city centre on the right bank. This exceptional situation opens up new possible relations between the downtown and the site. It is made up largely of the 10,000 m2 abandoned ENGIE site. The extreme proximity to the medieval centre offers a chance to confront problems of the future. How is one to manage mobility in the heart of the city ? How organise local services and re-qualify a public place along the bank of the river? How to hang up the typological peculiarities of the medieval center to the production of a contemporary city? How does the built heritage become alive, busy and productive ? These issues have also to take into consideration residential areas that are part of the project site.

City strategy

The municipality’s strategy is to promote vibrant housing and commercial development downtown rather than on the periphery. Urban change is gradually increasing and making it possible to bring working and living back to a central position of daily life. "Living and working in the heart of the City" occurs with concrete projects whether in housing (participatory housing, block reclassification) or commercial and tourism development (renovation of the covered market).
The municipality also wishes to increase commerce. At issue is comprehensive new thinking on urban transport to improve access to the city centre and the quality of public spaces at the moment clogged with parking.

Site definition 

Aurillac is a town of 26,572 inhabitants on the banks of the Jordanne River in the department of Cantal. Its city centre has all the services and administrative offices needed by the population in the city and from the suburbs near and far. Therefore, the city is subject to a flow of traffic that generates nuisances, traffic jams and especially a lack of parking spaces in the city centre.
The competition site is situated on the left bank of the Jordanne, connected directly to the centre of Aurillac and tied into the larger landscape. The site, buffering between the dense historical business centre and a more diffused work and residential area, should play a much greater role than it currently does.

How is Production Considered in the Urban Diversity Program?

An attractive "productive" city centre has to conserve the major services of greater Aurillac, attract new businesses and provide housing for the people who work in the city. The Europan project should bring to the revitalization of the city centre proposals for improving the use of public spaces and dealing with cars. By concentrating parking on the old ENGIE site, the project will free up public space for pedestrians.
Taking into consideration diversity and common use, the program for the abandoned site is composed of parking space and car-related services as well as local services and even tourism-related services. (car sharing, urban agriculture, development of street-art festival activities, etc.
It will be a question of restoring a dynamic life in the city center by developing innovative and mixed housing environments associated to new practices. The reappropriation of the public place can crossby the artistic and cultural production, commercial animations, the creation of places of meeting and exchanges and the innovative cultural facilities: artists’ residences, scenic appropriables spaces by all, street theater, art in the city…
To encourage a productive urban transition: the time management could lead to innovative urban practices that temporarily occupy spaces. These could be cultural activities but also production that would develop over a limited time under favourable economic conditions and help develop an identity for the neighbourhood.

ENGIE abandonned site
Medieval district


Jordanne bank and medieval district near the project site
Cours Monthyon parking lot


Questions on the site

I would like to know if you could provide a topographic map (cad) of the project site / strategic site. As the city lies in a broader valley, and the project site seems to be going up, this information will be very useful.

The municipality does not have the precised topographical maps, as it was agreed when all the documents were collected. That is why there is an "orthophotoplan" (a map designed after several aerial photographes that have been octo-rectified) in the complete site folder. There are also dimensions on the geometer map of the ENGIE brownfield that can give some indications to the candidates (plan FR-AURILLAC-PS-M2).

Our team is currently trying to find a detailed plan of the site-specific greenery, especially about the location of existing trees. Can you tell us where to find information on that?

The municipality has provided two new maps with datas regarding the green spaces : FR-AURILLAC-SS-M13.

For those who could not come to the site visit on March. 17th, as they are not available during week days, would it be possible to set up another site visit on a Saturday? If it was impossible, could you inform us about whom to contact in order to have access to certain sites that are not freely accessible like the ENGIE brownfield for example?

Unfortunately, it won't be possible to set up another site visite. We cannot give you the contacts of the sites representatives, either. Nevertheless, we are filming all the sites visits for the people who could not come. Videos will be available at the beginning of May on our Vimeo channel but also on each page site on (in the "specific documents" section). The report of the site visit will also be uploaded, in French and English versions, one week after the site visit.

There are currently 825 parking spots on the project site. Do we have to keep all of them for the project or is it expected that some of them might be relocated in the park-and-ride facilities outside the site, as contemplated by the municipality ? If so, to what extent ?

At the moment, there is no intention to relocate the parking spots in other parts of the city outside the project site. One of the municipality's challenges is to keep at least 600 out of 825 parking spots in innovative, mutable, progressive forms... Parking spots are related to three parking types (shopping, residential, traveling). It is obvious that candidates remain free to imagine other possibilities to keep the 825 parking spots or to deal with them differently.

Is it possible to get the topography lines of the site in a dwg file ?

The municipality already answered : there is no topographical map available. Regarding the contour lines, architects can refer to the IGN map and have a look at the ENGIE brownfield cadaster. Indeed, dimensions are indicated on this map which allow candidates to have an idea about the gradient percentage at the Foiral level between the Jordanne river and the top of the parcel.

Is it possible, for those who couldn't come to the official site visit and in accordance with the competition rules, to meet the local actors during another site visit organized on our own?

Candidates cannot organize a visit independently of the one organized by Europan within the framework of the competition. However, if you want to be aware of the site representatives' statements, please refer to the report of the site visit which has been uploaded on the site page, in English and French versions. You will soon be able to watch the video that was made during the site visit and that will be uploaded in early May on our Vimeo channel but also on the site page (in the "specific documents" section).

To what extend can we redefine the strategic and site perimeters ? Can we make assumptions on soon-to-be-free lots outside of it ?

The strategic site is wide but it can be considered even wider. As the project site will be operational more quickly, projects might be implemented faster. This can lead to a various-phase project and a process proposal.

Is it possible to redefine the Riverside, specifically along the Promenade du Gravier and Close to the Engie lot (meaning ground movements, height, depth, width...) and to what extend ?

During the vist, the Mayor said to the candidates that they could let their imagination run free... However, they must take into account the flood-prevention plan and the existing constraints.

What are the existing equipments for what you call "Parc de la Visitation" and are there already some projects on it ? Because without any visit, it's quite hard to understand this piece of site that seems to be actually really savage. Will it be in the visit Video ?

There is no equipment in the Parc de la Visitation. And no ongoing project on the site.It is a slopping site, wild and almost abandonned. You'll be able to see some pictures of the site in the video. Here's what the "Architect of Bâtiments de France" said about the site : "The site is unstable because of the gound movement '(clay soil). Garden works and landscape recomposition must be done with the rest of the site and the Jordanne. This is a classified site (with no other archived precise indication regarding this classification)"

Can we have the access and parking city plan of access during the festivals period ? (Streets art festival and Européennes du goût ?)

During the street arts festival, the Gravier parking is totally sealed and used as a food court and sales place. This also applies to Monthyon avenue (for pedestrians). Angoulême avenue remains in circulation and the rest of the site keeps its usual functioning. The Foiral parking is part of a specific deliberation and is turned into a paid parking during the Aurillac Festival (access control down Angoulême avenue). For the "Européennes du Goût" festival, the lower part of Foiral is split into two parts and car traffic is detoured from Angoulême avenue via "Chemin de la cote du Buis" and "Rue de la Libération" before going down towards Gerbert square.

Is it possible to have more documents about the Visitation Park (old and current pictures, schematic plan) ?

New documents were added to the downloadable documents list in the "0_New_docs_after_Launch folder". Candidates will find pictures, a map of the classified and listed site and the corresponding decree and an excerpt from a publication about the Visitation.

On some of the plans (including the FR-AURILLAC-SS-M08.jpg), the ENGIE brownfield is targeted as the project area of a silo parking. Do we have to propose a project on this proposal or, in the case it would be still under reflexion, can we speculate on another idea ?

Indeed, the silo parking on the ENGIE sector should be considered as a simple hypothesis. It is possible to speculate on any other idea without forgetting the global parking issue on the perimeter.

Regarding the cours Monthyons, we would like to know what are the area issues. Is it possible to consider a new underground in this sector or this solution might be impossible to be implemented regarding the flood-prevention plan ? We are also looking for the local urbanism plan and the flood prevention plan that we cannot find online.

The elements of Aurillac local urbanism plan (approved in November 2016 : PADD, regulation, zoning...) and the flood-prevention documents were added to the downloadable documents in the 0-New_docs_after_launc folder.

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