Development of the ‘Terrasses des Ponchettes’ Competition Entry / CAB Architects

  • 31 Dec 2012
  • by
  • mini Urban Design
© Myluckypixel

Known for being a popular location for strolls during the 19th century, the Terrasses des Ponchettes is one of Nice’s historical areas that has declined considerably since the 60’s. CAB Architects has aimed their proposal around two case studies. The first one deals with the articulation between the “Quai des Etats-Unis” and the “Cours Saleya”: “the lower part”. The second one concerning the raised terraces of the “Ponchettes” with a beautiful view over the sea: “The upper part”. More images and architects’ description after the break.

© Myluckypixel

The Lower Part

From the beach to the plaza

The “Quai des Etats-Unis” is much more than a simple beach : it is a genuine public space visited by a large crowd of people regardless of the season. Like other large Nice’s plaza, this public space must recover its construction designes by Consiglio d’Ornato in the 19th century which consists of a 4 part composition with rectangular windows, rid of any kiosk shrine.

© Myluckypixel

On ground floor we conceived that the arcades –which have been occupied since the beginning of the 20th century- should be completely cleared in order to offer a direct connection between the “Cours Saleya” and the “Quai des Etats-Unis”. Like the loges of the “Piazza della Signoria” in Florence, Italy, those sheltered spaces -that generate shade and fresh air- should consolidate the old fishing port’s status as a public major space.

© Myluckypixel

From the “Cité du Parc” to the Strada Obscura

The “Cité du Parc” is narrow and technical. It is an interspace between two noble spaces : one open on the sea, the other open on the city. Our project both reinforces and amplifies this situation by reinterpretating the “Strada Obscura” model borrowed from the neighboring city of Villefranche-sur-Mer : large bridges with high-tech pergola above the service road accentuate the feeling of verticalness and special compression, while metal-clad emergency staircase placed in the frontage connect the bridges to the restaurant kitchens in a way that is reminiscent of American backstreets.

© Myluckypixel

“The Cité du Parc” contrasts with the dug-in space of “Cours Saleya” and the terrace’ large space open on the sea. It’s a technical space crossed with walkways occupied by people sitting at restaurants’ tables and animated with large openings on the side, that can generate its own togetherness.

© Myluckypixel

From the “Cours” to the antechamber to the sea

The “Cours Saleya” is currently out of balance, it is more open on the city than it is to the sea side. Our project of freeing the arcades and reactivating staircases to the promenade above ground will allow the “Cours” to work better in a transversal way and make it a real antechamber to the sea.

© Myluckypixel

The Upper Part

The flying carpet

In our project, we offer to lay a wooden promenade on each of the two Ponchettes existing buildings. Once raised, the promenade functions as a technical floor, hiding the technical elements that actually populates the roof top while making it possible to arrange several “saut de loup” on the fronting’s edges that have a view over the dock so that no balustrade can alter the view. This Flying Carpet is a neutral place, open to every possibility. It is only designated by the texture of floor and should offer uses and view on the city and the sea that have never been thought before.

© Myluckypixel

A reverse “Cours”

In our project, the bridges –located above the lane and protected by a technical photo-electric pergola- should host the patios of several restaurants, kiosks and street entertainment scenes in order to gather different activities in the heart of the entire project and entirely free up the surroundings. The layout of this convex space flips the “Cours”’ typical concave space, where the flows of pedestrians converge toward the center while tables and chairs remain like alluvium on river bank.

aerial before / © Myluckypixel

Third city

Our project is organically attached to the heart of the neighboring opera. It should give the public the impression of floating in space between the line of horizon and the trees that emerge from the “Cours”. Far beyond a simple beach resort, the city of Nice could be seen as a cultural city, not only meant for tourists.

Architects: CAB Architects
Location: Nice,
Team: Jean-Patrice Calori, Bita Azimi, Marc Botineau
Project Manager: Marine Cangione, architect
Lighting Design: Coup D’eclat
Cost Control: Bureau Michel Forgue
Sustainability Consultant: Oasiis
Structural Consultant: Batiserf
Fluids: Louis Choulet
Acoustics: Peutz
Client: City of Nice Council
Program: Refurbishment of a famous strolling place fallen into disuse since the 19th century into a huge roof terrace used by th public (creation of new access, roof terrace refurbishment, creation of programmatic footbridges)
Area: 26,000 m2
Cost: 14,000,000€ HT
Competition Year: 2010
Studies: From 2010 to 2012
Delivery: In the 3 phases: 2013, 2014 and 2015

Cite: Furuto, Alison. "Development of the ‘Terrasses des Ponchettes’ Competition Entry / CAB Architects" 31 Dec 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 25 May 2015. <>
  • Ben@Bernhardt

    Excellent images ! Very nice post. I’m tweeting it. Thanks.