Versants Versatiles - Europan 13 - Runner-up
Europan 13 – Saint-Brieuc – France
Authors : Jean Chevalier (Architect and Landscape architect), Gaylor Chiari, Nicolas Pineau, Alexandre Renimel, Noémie Schmidt, Marie Eve Turpeau (Architects)
The issue put forward by the city of Saint-Brieuc was one of a weakened relation between the land and the sea, with two proposed intervention sites, the historic city center and a derelict industrial site in the Gouët valley.
We suggest approaching the territory of St-Brieuc from a formal singularity: the topographical 80 meter NGF line that integrates into its drawing the city center in the Gouët valley. The general strategy consists in working on the relationship between two entities separated by this line: on one side the urbanized plateaus and on the other one the deserted hillsides.
80 M NGF ALTITUDE
Through this altitude and its linear transcription on the territory two entities stand out : the plateaus and the valleys of Saint-Brieuc.
These two entities are broadly urban spaces for one and natural spaces for the other. Nevertheless this reinterpretation of the territory of Saint-Brieuc through this altitude reintegrates the historical center in the valleys, and brings us to question the relationship between this center and the valleys.
With their marked topography, these valleys are a transverse element of the landscape on a large scale, a link and a natural opening from the country and the city to the sea. They are an identity vector (the city of valleys, the bridges and infrastructures of patrimonial interest) and a strong quality for the city in this very close relation to its natural landscape.
They are also symptomatic of a weakened connection to the landscape in the structure of its natural spaces which are often neglected, hence creating a distance between city and nature.
The global strategy of the project, through the expression of this 80 m NGF line, is to work on the connectivity of these two entities (urban spaces and valleys), and the networking and mixture of these landscapes.
The project proposes the strengthening of the public transportation network onto the existing roads with a bus loop on a station–sea axis, as an alternative to the car and a complement to the TEO project. Parallel to the 80 m NGF line and located in the bottom of the valley, this linear axis links a set of potential connections identified on the plateaus and in the valleys through footpaths.
The hillsides become connection spaces, rather than distancing spaces, on a transportation loop that connects them together in a two speed landscape.
A network of mobile uses overlaps this mesh to activate these connections through a daily use of the spaces.
The landscape structure of Saint-Brieuc is composed of urban and natural spaces often clearly separated as in the relationship between residential areas and hillsides.
The natural spaces are most of the time handled in a binary manner, ordered in the parks, loose on the slopes.
The project offers to soften this structure through a system of interpenetration or dissemination of the natural spaces in the built spaces, as well as a differentiated treatment of these spaces.
GLOBAL STRATEGY OF TERRITORIAL MESHING
The global strategy defines a certain amount of tools / interventions localized on the defined territory, these interventions can be exported to other sites in Saint-Brieuc to increase the connectivity between the plateaus and the valleys of the city.
The interventions aim to create a mesh of the territory through revealing its porosity and its gaps. They address connections either existing and to highlight, or to create. These footpaths in the hillsides have strong qualities: their visual opening on the landscape of the valley and the chance they give to wander through a natural space, isolated and without cars.
In the city center, these footpaths are expressed by landscape interventions on the existing road network, tranverse to the public transportation axis passant through the Rohan and the Grille street,thus creating continuity starting at the bottom of the valley and rising toward the park of the Préfecture and the Promenades.
On this weft, the punctuations formed by the mobile uses are located at the junction of each neighborhood to connect them and to activate these connections. These mobiles uses take the shape of small trucks with locations in each site. These light and movable structures allow implementing an adaptable system at little cost.
They can be constituted on a three truck basis with a library, a film library (film projections in the public space), a “guinguette” / foodtruck, and expend or change according to the needs and will of the inhabitants and local associations. The itinerant market traders (fruits and vegetables, fisherman, etc.) would have the opportunity to sign up on an occupancy schedule of the available locations.
The mobiles uses bring punctually, and accordingly to the needs, a diversity of uses in rather monofunctional neighborhoods, as well as a livelier rhythm for the public spaces occupation on a daily or weekly basis. On an exceptional event, several trucks can be put together on a same site.
The city center of Saint-Brieuc is today the main point of attractiveness for the users (inhabitants and tourists), because of its concentration of restaurants and local stores.
Creating new forms of itinerant uses, built on today’s hyper-connectivity and internet’s possibilities of interaction and information, will allow a diffusion of the city center, and thus a diffusion of its dynamism.
The very localized nature of these interventions will be an opportunity to create a social and intergenerational bond answering to the travel difficulties of the elderly people.
The diffusion of these truck locations allows an alternative to propose a constant adaptation to the user’s needs. It’s also a way to create a link between local institutions and the inhabitants to build and adapt together this itinerant offer with the associations and neighborhood committees.
The diffusion might possibly expand into other areas of the city of Saint-Brieuc.
The landscape axis of the project is developed through two levels of actions: punctual actions of requalification of a space and more thorough actions to redefine spaces.
Thus some natural spaces are re-qualified by punctual pruning of the tree mass to make visible the pathways, the bridges and infrastructures of patrimonial interest, to give some point of view on the distant landscape.
The redefinition actions take place on the valley floors and hillside and aim areoccupation and re-appropriation of each site by an approach of mixed landscapes and uses.
- The investment of the formerly unused hillsides by a meshing of natural and built spaces on the derelict industrial site.
- The requalification and the opening of wooded natural spaces into productive green space, in extent to invest and cultivate the hillside rather than having these spaces creating a distance between plateaus and the valley floors (the Légué Street, the derelict industrial site).
- The implementation of natural landscapes of valley into the historical center of Saint-Brieuc to express the affiliation and the relationship of this area to the valley and to this entity of the topographical 80 m NGF line, while giving a counterpoint to its strong minerality.
The meshing formed by the projected and existing fixed uses is backed up by the interventions on the landscape and forms a synergy with the temporary mobile uses through the transverse character of their locations on the hillsides. This meshing invites to wander in the valley from the top to the bottom and proposes the installation of appropriable spaces (productive natural spaces, recreation spaces).
LÉGUÉ STREET AXONOMETRY
This site, located at the junction of the Légué and the Trois Frères le Goff streets, serves as an example of the deployment of the project’s global strategy. It is of particular interest because of its convergence character in between three neighborhoods, the historical center of Saint-Brieuc, the Notre Dame and Saint-Michel neighborhoods.
Based on the existing structure, the project proposes to work on a better clarity of the footpaths to improve the transverse connectivity of this portion of valley, by the pruning of the tree mass on the fringes of the pathways, but also in highlighting the beginnings of the footpaths from the roads, due to differentiated ground treatment. Some new pathways are also proposed on infill lots.
On high ground (plateau Saint-Michel) and low ground (at the crossroad) are localized the mobile uses. The requalification of the Notre Dame hillside forms a third point of attractivity in this system, though the introduction of a meshing of natural spaces composed of rustic natural spaces and shared gardens, in an echo to a valley once nourishing.
The landscaped grid allows opening and revealing the hillside landscape through an earthwork in terrace that underlines the topography while helping the infiltration of water and to hold the soil.
Through the transcription of the 80 m NGF line, the site of the city center is redefined as an extended sequence going from the Gouédic valley to the historical city center and the border of the Préfecture park.
This continuity in between the hillsides is built in a comb-like shape starting from the created public transportation loop. The passage between the Grille and Rohan streets becomes for the pedestrians and buses only, together with an electronic management of the traffic to handle the narrowness of the street. Thus this transportation loop is the opportunity to enlarge the restricted traffic area from the Saint-Guillaume to the Préfecture park, constituting a transversal pedestrian meshing like the other interventions. The parking spaces on the Général de Gaulle, Résistance and Poulain-Corbion places are replaced in a created multi-storey car park on a portion of the Poulain-Corbion place, in a car connection with the axis of the Brest street.
This redefinition of the Poulain-Corbion place finds its complement in the displacement of the main scene of the festival Art Rock onto the Promenades park. Through the presence of Art Rock scene between the Général de Gaulle place and the Promenades park, together with the creation of mobile uses punctuations on these two polarities, the project initiates an expansion of the city center through a set of quotidian or exceptional event.
In parallel of the uses displacement, is constructed a landscaped continuity from valley to another. Thus the project proposes the implementation of natural spaces of the valley into the historical center of Saint-Brieuc to express the affiliation to this entity of the topographical 80 m NGF line, while giving a counterpoint to its strong minerality. This displacement of landscape is a way to add in the city center some new typologies of natural spaces, wilder than the actual park typologies, and thus creating more diversity.
Three interventions putting in network the places are proposed through a gradation of natural spaces:
- The creation of afforestation, productive green spaces and untilled green spaces on the Poulain-Corbion place, the square in front of the Préfecture (thus creating an signal toward the park), and on the location of the demolished market hall (in relation to the wooden hillside at the end of the Trois Frères le Goff street).
- The plantation of an alignment and a group of trees on the Chai and Résistances places (places that are currently in connection through covered passage).
- The plantation of isolated tree punctuating the intersections of the commercial artery formed by the Saint-Guillaume and Charbonnerie streets and the created network of soft mobility axis.
These interventions are completed by some transverse landscaped entities that express the diffusion of this natural landscape on an axis from the Préfecture parc to the Gouédic valley. They take the form of planted strips that alternatively replace the parking places to provoke an evolution from a parking only system to a cultivated street.
The historical structure and the trees of the Promenades parc are retained, with the exception of a portion of the ground, remodeled to accommodate the new program. This space sets a scene on the Gouédic valley and the Armor tower, particularly with the main stage of Art Rock, which could propose a framing on this landscape.
The entrance in the Gouédic valley is re-qualified through the reactivation of some of the former pathways and punctual pruning of the tree mass, allowing highlighting the paths and the infrastructures of patrimonial interest of the Sévigné boulevard.
DERELICT INDUSTRIAL SITE
The project tends to make the meshing of the residential plateau slide along the hillside by mixing programs of activities and housing. Each of these mixed programs opens an opportunity of raising awareness to the quality of the briochin landscape, either from a contemplative point of view (belvedere, roof «garden») or from a sociocultural and economic point of view (program of activities with educational virtues, cultures in hillsides following exhibition, highlighted by the works of engineering or by their tracks).
Up to here, the boulevard Harel De La Noë marks a city edge. The operation consists in extending beyond this threshold by living in the hillside. Two large buildings, one public equipment and one small collective housing, are born in the slope and allow by their roof to expose the valley from east to west. They begin discreetly the urbanization of the hillside on which hang from now on other buildings. Inserted into the existing forest, they suppose light and appropriate constructive solutions, mixing especially as the ground quietens down to guarantee accessibility.
The Légué street is inhabited from now on and also welcomes diverse economic activities. To avoid the feeling of the former built corridor, it propose wide and green breakthroughs on the landscape of valley. We find here a location for our itinerant truck program. The low site (the derelict industrial site GDF) is redefined around an awareness program for the economy of the food-processing industry by grouping an community supported agriculture association, an educational farm, and a micro-brewery within a place evoking the farm building. Concerned, the city of Plérin may participate in the project by offering its south today uncultivated hillsides, on the way back in a moderate scale agriculture.
Along the Gouêt river, new circulation is organized to travel through the landscape more easily, while preserving the wood bank. On easily flooded grounds, shared gardens return, after 50 years of absence, livened up and supported by the educational farm. An old building of the site GDF punctuates the route. Today without program, it’s a kind of real estate fallow, welcoming on the occasion some events.
Nearby, a program of accommodation for seasonal workers becomes integrated into the last reliefs of the north hillside, extending the urban fabric at the heart of the valley.