The ‘Multitalented City’ by PUPA (Public Urbanism Personal Architecture) is a winning proposal for the Europan 11 which creates a new identity for an old university campus at the periphery of Reims, France. The campus is transformed into a flexible and self sustaining district which is able to adapt to changes – environmental, societal, and economic. More images and architects’ description after the break.
European cities are facing new challenges for the future. Loosing population, sprawling towns search for new ways to develop and attract most talented knowledge workers. Reims is one of them. How the city with 200 thousand inhabitants could offer a unique district? It should be a district as a system able to sustain by its own. We have to design new multitalented city. City where everything happens: life, work, daily program, innovation, leisure. There is diversity and dynamics of people and function, effective transport system.
Open gaps in urban tissue are very common in eastern part of Reims (Champagne Park, vineyards, sport fields, modernist campus). Backbone of the Multitalented City is five distinctive squares witch strengthen this identity. By main routes open squares are connected into one continuous public space network. Streets link open spaces and new district with adjacent neighborhoods, business zone and centre of Reims. In wider scale squares become part of eastern Reims green structure, linking peri-urban landscapes and city parks.
Distinctive identity squares create five different program clusters around it. Clusters are divided into patches. These smallest urban units are filled with typology, scale and function to strengthen character of the square. The five squares are: Station Square, Showcase square, Vineyard public space, Community square and Park square. Station square is the key public space, the gate to former Moulin de la Housse campus. Most diverse functions are located here: station with urban lobby and meeting rooms, food market, creative incubator, offices, services, commercial functions, apartments. This entire diverse program forms the heart of the district.
Showcase square attracts most innovative functions – agro fuel research center, laboratories, light industries and lyceum of the district. Here energy and knowledge is produced. Research cluster is a bounded in between residential cluster near the vineyard and business cluster near the station. Density together with programmatic intensity goes lower further from the station, to the edges of the district around park square and vineyard. Middle density community square becomes main resident’s public space to go out, to relax, play, and gather. Existing iconic amphitheatre building is renovated into cultural community house. It is used for meetings, clubs, hobby activities and exhibitions.
Creating conditions to use sustainable forms of transport is an important objective of the strategy. Using public transportation, shared bikes, cars and more important changing modes of transportation has to be cheap, fast and easy. Therefore mobility spots are the places where all these systems meet. Mobility spot is placed in each square were residents can take shared bike or car, plug in and charge personal electric car, or jump into public transport. New district is well linked with public transport. Train station is a direct connection with the city center and larger region, while bus and tram links new district with other Reims neighborhoods.
The bicycle is treated as the main form of transport within the campus. Shared city bicycle system is introduced in Reims. Bike rent spots are always next to your house or work. Besides inner bicycle network within the campus main recreational routes are position to lead cyclist outside the Reims to the surrounding landscapes. To make use of environmental friendly cars we suggest a shared community car system. Possibility to rent a car or electrical scooter for short term makes a private car not a necessity. Park & ride facilities and plug in stations are provided for the private car owners.
Patches around each square are connected into the same network for managing energy, water and waste. Each cluster is connected to other cluster, to the city grids, region and so on. House is a smallest fractal unit to manage sustainable systems. It is a smallest unit in a smart grid system. It is a beneficiary system where user also becomes energy producer and can benefit from one another. On the larger scale each house belongs to networks of geothermal energy, solar powered transportation, and waste collection.
Here squares play an important role in raising the awareness of people that are using these systems. Solar energy collected on your house could be transformed in free kilometers that one could drive with the shared electrical car, waste collection is organized with Pay as you throw principle, and rain water overflow is stored in the squares for a communal use.
Memory of the campus
Keeping traces of the past identity is as important as creating new identity. Therefore outlines of the campus are visible in the new plan. Open, main university public space is transformed into community square. Iconic buildings like auditorium and long chemistry and physics building are renovated and reused for new public function. They are changed into the community house and the incubator for young professionals, for studios, temporary activities, galleries.
Relatively new buildings like Europol l`Agro, are kept. Typical campus buildings are partly reused. The outdated inside is removed, while structure and foundation are used for the new houses. All construction and demolition waste material is kept after demolition and recycled into public space; for new surfaces, urban elements, playgrounds.
Spatial development framework based around the squares creates flexibility for implementation. The squares should be activated as places from the beginning. Each surrounding cluster could be developed separately and independently. The balanced public space structure together with diverse program, efficient mobility organization and sustainable infrastructure systems create a multitalented identity for the Moulin de la Housse campus.
Architects: PUPA Location: Reims, France Team: Justina Muliuolyte, Tadas Jonauskis, Lukas Rekevicius Status: Winner, Competition, Europan 11 Site Area: 70ha Year: 2011