Gilly “Made it yourself” | E13 Special Mention
Europan 13 - Charleroi, France
Gilly “Made it yourself” proposes to solve issues of an area by improving attractiveness thanks to place identity and cooperation of local citizens.
Gilly is located in the northeastern part of Charleroi above Sambre River: it is one of the 55 neighborhoods of Charleroi. Gilly has good connection to the city center thanks to line 4 of metro and served by two stations: Gazometre and Gilly. The proximity with two major highways allows a wide accessibility to the territory: N90 connects Charleroi to Liege and R3 that forms a large ring road around the city. Gilly is also located in the heart of a green network consisting of Ravel and heaps, industrial heritage transformed into environmental site. The site is connected to large existing activities centres (such as Aeropole) and projected (such as the Grand Hospital of Charleroi - GHDC). Connexions can be increase to make Gilly more attractive and create a strategical and central position for Gilly in East Charleroi.
The study area covers three major axes of connections : two roads, Chaussee de Charleroi linking city centre to the eastern territory and Chaussee de Lodelinsart that connects North (towards Aeropole) and South (towards the Sambre); and a third axis form by metro. The two metro stations on project site serve two activities centre of Gilly: the Heracles Business Parc in the southwest of the site and the heart of the administrative, cultural and commercial centre of the old town facing the city hall.
The main intention is to create a clear and qualitative pedestrian axis to connect these two centres. Destree square located along this pedestrian journey will be a gathering space between the two poles and regain its unifying role of urban square.
Destree square is occupied today by a public car park used by residents coming in the centre of Gilly for different reasons (school, city hall, cultural center, shopping, libraries...). However, using Destree square as an outdoor parking can no longer play a representative role of urban square for it. Gilly now needs to show its attractiveness in order to become a new pole of influence in the territory. To achieve this, Destree square must first find a morphology type of a place, to constitute itself as a central area surrounded by four built fronts: this space concentrate all access of surrounded equipment and on its center the city Hall, future one-stop-shop centre. This new morphology is accompanied by an intensification of the rest of the project site.
This new morphology must incorporate resident’s existing needs: particularly in terms of lanes and parking. First it must take account of pedestrian connection: the goal of the new development block is to emphasize this pedestrian path through a qualitative built front. It should also be services lanes for vehicles. One, on the south of the site will allow residents to access their homes. Traffic will be provided for two-way and few parking spaces along the lane for inhabitants. The second service lane in the north of the site will be dedicated for access to schools and libraries nearby. Traffic will be provided for single way with some drop-off places alongside, per example for school. Finally, an underground parking is planned to support all area parking needs.
Our project questions existing access to schools and publics equipment and its improvement. We proposed a built front toward the square creating new access to clarify accessibility to different existing programs on site (primary and secondary schools). We share various entities to free up spaces and establish a clear project strategy on the rest of the site. All access are turned to Destree square. However, we maintain a parking and a service lane for deliveries on the Nord of the school, Athenee Royal. The Athenee Royal will offer in 2016 a new section for "Environmental Technician". The school has already created with students a biodiversity area on a vacant parcel near the school that works very well.We want reinforce this project by associating gardens and pedagogical greenhouses of the new main entrance of the school.
CO-OPERATIVE BLOCK - JUST USE IT!
The future attractiveness of Gilly goes both through the exploitation of its identity and its heritage but also by its capacity to adapt to the different needs of this area following the establishment of the Eastern District. We have therefore chosen to dedicate a part of the project site to the creation of a co-operative and sustainable development process.
To do this, we have reused the form of the existing Gilly’s block typology in a contemporary way. The Block typology is a closed or semi-open space surrounded vy constructions (often housing) and green or garden area in the center. Plots that are long and narrow (such as vegetable plots).
We plan to resume these formal principles by incorporating a series of walkways that will structure our block development and make some porosity. This frame cuts block in various modules, which can be divided into three separate parcels.
Formed plots will have equivalent dimensions (about 7 m x 14 m). They can be used according to the needs of the city and the inhabitants.
Indeed, in addition to this frame, we propose different typologies that can adapt to each plot: housing, equipment, service, green spaces in different forms, landscaped parking...
The principle of this development process is to answer to Gilly’s tommorrow challenges adapting uses: program on each plot can be matter of co-operation and consultation with Citizens.
There is no obligation to start all projects simultaneously: the constitution of the block can be spread over time. In addition, this principle may be reproduced on other vacant spaces on the Charleroi area.
The different types can be combined in several ways: all scenarios are possible whenever a built front partial or total is respected on Rue du Calvaire street and alongside the pedestrian promenade.
A sport complex receiving a gym and multi-activity facilities and replacing existing equipment will be created in limit of the co-operative block directly related to the Destree square and pedestrian axis: it is a hinge element which opens onto the three entities at once.
We have developed a main scenario which seems to meet the needs of Gilly both economically and in terms of attractiveness: it is not a frozen solution.
We dedicate first plots towards Rue du Calvaire and pedestrian axis to implementation of collective housing (mainly private) to recover funds and to meet the needs of housing in the area. Plots in the heart of block will be mainly devoted to the creation of pedagogical greenhouses and shared gardens: they will come in addition to the already present biodiversity spaces at the entrance of the Athénée Royal and may be used by other schools in the city.
This will mark a little more the attractiveness of Gilly. They may also be used by the local residents in the form of shared urban gardens. The last plots will host outdoor sports areas in connection with the new equipment and will be used both by schools and by the inhabitants.
Finally, the building at the southern edge of the co-operative block allows both to recreate a front built on Chaussée de Charleroi and mark the pedestrian axis: he creates a landmark an appeal to Destree Square and will host a public equipment.
Creation of an East-West axis connecting the two poles of activities and the metro stations (Gilly and Gazometre) bordering the project site. This connection allows a serving of the different functions of the site.
It is materialized by a pedestrian and bicycle promenade connecting to a larger soft traffic, including the RAVEL network
To create a physical and visual connection, the existing geometry of the Town Hall is changed giving new perspectives to the surrounding landscape and better visibility of public spaces
Creation of a a new urban and attractive polarity by generating a generous and multi-functional public space.
Establishment of a structuring morphology by adapting existing buildings and centralizing around a public place, all fonctions with a collective and urban interests already on site.
This intention is materialized by the creation of a large sports complex more suitable and flexible, the grouping of local associations and access to public facilities (schools + library) in a new facade, the opening of the ground floor of the Town Hall and revaluation of the functionality of the cultural centre.
ACCESSIBILITY AND PUBLIC RELATIONS
Valuation of accessibility to public, associative and cultural facilities Implementation of Visual and physical connections from public spaces to the equipment structuring the square in order to stimulate these places. The public square centralizes all access to equipment.
The ground floor of the town hall is restructured to bring transparency to the public spaces and bring the animation instead. The sports complex plays as a link between public square and the co-operative block providing a public and landscape continuity. The cultural centre is directly accessible from the square and metro via a transparent and friendly entry.
Emmanuel Nguyen (Janez Nguyen Architects)
Robert Janez (Janez Nguyen Architects)
Delphine Altier Architects
Pauline Merlet Architects
Europan 13 - The Adaptable City 2
SPECIAL MENTION award