Tête de Pont is a winning competition entry by Josep Lluís Mateo of Mateo Arquitectura that is a remodeling of the river Adour in Bayonne, France. The solution of the design marks a new threshold for the approach to the old town that begins the process of urban renewal on the banks of Adour between the city center and the estuary.
Read on for more on this project after the break.
The site comprises of the land between the Allées marines and Boulevard du BAB which completes a sequence of movement that includes the crossing of the Henry Grenet Bridge to the city centre. The volume of the entire city block sits atop a base formed by an underground car park and a shopping mall that occupies the entire ground floor. The frontage overlooking the river comprises a relatively low volume that imposes a horizontal rhythm throughout the five storeys, with two large openings that run through the city block from its center towards the Adour. Behind, the progression of the zinc roofing makes its presence felt, along with a series of projections that offer broader vistas over the river.
In contrast, the meeting of Boulevard du BAB and Avenue Henri Grenet forms a harder, L-shaped corner that marks the urban composition and protects the center of the city block from noise. This taller volume,with six storeys, forms a counterpoint to the overall composition. As on the side overlooking the Adour, there is a large opening in the volume facing south onto Boulevard du BAB. This draws light into the courtyard and offers views of the city in the distance.
Avenue Dubrocq consists of a staggered volume of two small towers (eight and seven floors respectively), clad in zinc. Fragmenting the volume on the street side serves to draw light into the center of the block and create a more dynamic view of the street. Finally, at the center of the street block, a lower, more delicate timber-clad volume is inserted to avoid creating shade. It serves to separate the two planted courtyards corresponding respectively to the free-market and the social housing blocks.
All the dwellings benefit from their respective conditions: open to the south and protected from the north, with terraces and gardens that allow them to enjoy views of the Adour or of the new neighbourhood.
The landscape treatment of the two gardens is an important contribution to the quality of the dwellings. It provides circulation space, laying out the different stairwells around the principal shafts, and a welcoming space where residents can meet and relax. Two programmatic scenarios can exist within in the two courtyards, which both have plenty of vegetation. In the courtyard of the free-market housing block, there will be two “small mountains” (about 1.50 m high) to allow the planting of tall trees on the floor slab of the mall. These topographies draw out paths and provide visual protection for the terraces on the ground floor. The courtyard of the social housing block is a sloping plane that has two functions: to draw the gaze skywards through the break in the volume overlooking the Allées marines and to give privacy to the approach to the free-market dwellings and the terraces of the timber-clad buildings. The two large openings will accommodate wooden decks.
The composition of the volume is reinforced by a specific treatment of each part using a particular material: the combination of concrete and glass, wood and zinc.
The base of the mall is given a curtain wall of transparent or semi-opaque screen-printed glass according to the layout of the premises. The façade of the building overlooking the BAB and Avenue Henri Grenet (building C) comprises a foreground of white screen-printed glass with the gradual introduction of semi-opaque patterns. The glass forms a railing with a transparent movable part that serves to enclose the loggias and protect them from traffic noise to the south and east. The superposition of semi-opaque glass and a tinted white element sets off a vibration in the façade. On Avenue Dubrocq, the volumes (building A) are clad with zinc, with folding shutters that create a random order following the openings and the doors of each dwelling. There is a reminder of wood at each opening and at the entrances to the terraces.
Building C has a class II wooden cladding, introducing a more domestic feel at the centre of the street block. A combined vertical and horizontal arrangement and sliding shutters for the doorways mark out the composition of the façades. All the sloped roofs will be of traditional zinc with standing seams, also used for the vertical elementsin the façade. The walk-on terraces will be built of wood, and the inaccessible terraces will be finished with white gravel.
Architect: Josep Lluís Mateo Location: Bayonne, France Client: KAUFMAN & BROAD and EIFFAGE CONSTRUCTION Competition: 2006, First Prize of Restricted Competition Surface: 70,000 sqm