Earlier in July, AWP, Office for Territorial Reconfiguration (Marc Armengaud, Matthias Armengaud, Alessandra Cianchetta), was named the general contractor for the landscaping of the public spaces and follies situated at the foot of the Grande Arche. The site, located near the future Arena 92 in the Jardins de l’Arche neighborhood, serves as a space for genuine interchange between La Défense and Seine-Arche. The urbanists at AWP are also responsible for guide plan for Defacto that will enhance the urban area of La Défense’s business district.
The project site is of a great spatial complexity. Underground are the A14 route, metro line 1 and the RER A, while above ground, the existing Jardins de l’Arche landscape project and the Jetty occupy the space. It should be able to serve the upcoming urban planning changes to the neighborhood: Terrasses de Nanterre, the Arena 92 stadium, residences and hotels.
Each element of the Jardins de l’Arche project, which covers approximately 30,000-square-meters and includes a nearly 600-meters-long ramp, contributes to an improved urban experience. The continuous ramp allows for a more fluid space, while the extensive garden encourages re-thinking of the existing landscape as a “sanctuary” to be protected. Meanwhile, the new follies, multipurpose spaces and small scale buildings, increase and ‘activate’ the possible uses of the site. The principal objective is to create an architectural, urban and landscape continuity between the newly developed spaces and the existing urban areas.
Central to the project are the following goals: recreate an exceptional urban existence on a neglected site between the Terrasses of Seine-Arche and La Défense; create an attractive and lively space on the scale of the Parisian metropolis; achieve an urban culture and communication between La Défense and the surrounding neighborhoods; reinforce the ties between the area and the heart of the city by rendering the space more fluid; reveal and give new value to the buildings’ architecture in a harmonious urban landscape.
This is one of the Grand Paris’s major public urban spaces; it will create a link between two sections of the Seine by asserting its presence at the mid-point. This idea takes priority over all of the private and local constraints of the space, and perhaps even influences the way those constraints are addressed.