Le Mirail


Urban design proposal for Nyon-Les Plantaz, 2009
Europan 10 competition

The well-connected perimeter of the Les Plantaz competition site with the first station of the NStC-train after the historic core of Nyon reveals the potential to give the area the role of a new centrality at the periphery of the city.
We believe that a new Urban Form is necessary to correspond to the specific contemporary peripheral context of Les Plantaz: A context that is strongly marked by a multilayered heterogeneous suburban fabric - a coexistence of various urban characteristics without spatial coherence, as seen in many other urban situations throughout western Europe.
This project addresses the topic of regeneration, accompanied with the reflexion on the issue of identity. Within this debate, we see one relevant dimension of a sustainable development in the recognition of the existing qualities on the site. We complement it with a common and unagitated Architecture, which leaves the possibility for future adaptation. Hence architecture itself becomes the main device to operate within the scale of urban design. Within the condition of a complex every-day we propose the use of precise and robust architecture typologies as a means to give form to the given condition by precisely framing its existing diverse qualities. We comprehend this action of framing as a strategy that prepares the spatial structuring for future adaptations on the area. Important issue in this strategy of planning lays in the dichotomy of the permanent form - the formal buildings - and the temporary, ephemeral infills.
We aim to achieve this quality of the permanent with the implementation of two large cross-shaped housing typologies. The two buildings are seven storeys high and extend horizontally over 121 by 137 meters. The cross-shaped building volumes are lifted on a piloti structure and formulate an open and permeable ground floor space. The architectural expression of the two cross-shaped residential buildings is simple, modest and repetitive – an Architecture non-parlante. The in-between spaces are dedicated to the qualities of the temporary. This urban pockets can adapt over time, its development can be left to a future negotiation process amongst the inhabitants and other involved actors. This spaces become the stage for the multitude, the banal, the contradictory: Old industrial buildings, vernacular booths, kiosks – Architecture parlante.