ECDM Architects’ proposal is for a unifying building, a building that represents both the Mériadeck neighborhood and the old city, that participates in defining an urban landscape and carries the values of a society more open to its environment. It was therefore around the creation of an open space, a space of convergence and exchange that they wanted to organize the program, a space framing the city, organizing open programs and services around the borders, a space animated by its users and actors. It acts as a beautiful and lively space, where the dynamism of Bordeaux is displayed for a close and urban administration. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The project is foremost about a relationship with the exterior, a proposal for a continuation of public space within the plan of the building. The city and the municipality are thought of as an amalgamation of spatial conditions. There is the potential to create a strong interdependence between the two: we are in one of the hearts of the city.
Here, more than elsewhere, the building must unify the city; it must be the structural element of a distended urban landscape that still suffers from the scars of modernity. In one direction a historic quarter of the city, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and in the other direction Mériadeck, a urban idea increasingly anchored in the Bordeaux landscape to become an important element of the city, equally classed by UNESCO.
The uniqueness of the site, located between a town built-up through iteration, and a planned neighborhood, at the frontier of two radically different urban conditions, gives our building the role of an interface to unify two incoherent areas.
It is notably in front of the Galerie des Beaux-arts that we notice residual spaces, unstructured surfaces leftover at the boundary of the two regions, blanks left at the border of two separate urban conditions. Alignment and repetition have lost their framing role, gaps struggle to articulate discontinuous programs and typologies.
One of the major difficulties of the site was the orientation perpendicular to the Avenue d’Albret, a large parcel of land without joint ownership, upon which there is a risk that something severe and autonomous, existing between two voids, might be built. Our project is a urban response that balances the relationship between the two regions of Bordeaux. The building is situated perpendicular to the geometry of the site, in line with the Avenue d’Albret in order to build a relationship between two parallel parcels currently without a dialogue.
On three levels, a height of about 10 m, we have freed a large volume aligned with the Galerie de Beaux-Arts. This notch in the volume permits the development of a surface between our building and the Avenue d’Albret of about 40 m deep, and a length stretching between Rue Bonaffé and Esplanade Charles de Gaulle. It is a linear space that will follow the Avenue d’Albret. The historic town slips by the modern city and vice versa, a grid of trees will run along the avenue to extend the linearity of the public space.