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Rue Crébillon, before the intervention. Despite its fine qualities, the Nuits-Saint-Georges town centre was very run-down until recently and no longer offered its residents a pleasant, salubrious atmosphere.

BEFORE

images  (11)

AFTER
 

description

previous state

Nuits-Saint-Georges is the main town in the wine-producing region of Côte de Nuits which, along with the region of Côte de Beaune, boasts of the most prestigious vineyards in Burgundy. Besides its excellent wines, the surrounding land offers a limestone marble called Comblanchien, which is highly esteemed for its resistance thus giving the region’s quarries a very good name.

The medieval urban fabric of the town, still occupied by a large number of historic buildings, is essentially structured by the Dijon road, which connects it with the Burgundy gastronomy and oenology route, running through the town as a main road with the successive names of Grand Rue and Rue Fagon. Along the length of this axis is a series of squares that give it a structured and agreeable rhythm. Nevertheless, and despite these fine qualities, the Nuits-Saint-Georges town centre was very run-down until recently and no longer offered its residents a pleasant, salubrious atmosphere. Its squares were used as open-air car parks, while the intensity of traffic throughout the entire town centre caused problems of pollution and obstructed freedom of movement.

aim of the intervention

Faced with this situation, the Town Council undertook a preliminary study that proposed as future lines of action a drastic reduction of vehicular traffic in the town centre, which would be reserved exclusively for residents and delivery of goods, while also abolishing the ground-level car parks except in the case of vehicles of handicapped people. Along with these restrictive measures, the creation of a series of car parks on the edge of the old town was proposed as a way of absorbing the volume of vehicles displaced from the centre. These suggestions were publicly debated and approved over various consultative meetings organised with residents and businesspeople. On this basis, it was possible to develop a project of totally recovering the town centre with the main aims of highlighting the civic and commercial axis of the main road and the refurbishment of its squares as pleasant places for the public to meet.

description

The project renewed the paving of a number of squares and streets with Comblanchien stone, involving a total area of ten thousand square metres. The stone was quarried and cut in Nuits-Saint-Georges’ own district quarries, which meant that the work done was more economical and sustainable, while managing the ordering and delivery of materials was also simplified.

In the Place de la Libération, at the southern edge of the project, a semi-circular, slightly hollowed zone was provided to accommodate the terraces of the Café de Paris and the Café de l’Étoile. This is the beginning of the section of the main street that was converted into a pedestrian precinct and that separates into two parallel streets, Grand Rue and Rue Crébillon. These two streets define the width of Place Monge, in which a cubic fountain was installed in homage to the father of descriptive geometry. They then run into the Place de la République, the town’s most central and major public space. This square, some twenty metres wide by eighty long, was given its essential structure on the basis of a central strip that contains a number of fountains, benches and café terraces, while also freeing two lateral thoroughfares. The fountains in the central part testify to the great diversity of possible ways of channelling and accumulating water by means of pools, channels, overflows and waterspouts and, along with the benches, they give shape to a collection of slabs and parallelepipedic Comblanchien stone blocks that were selected at the quarry itself. Different groups of shrubs, namely rose bushes and box trees trimmed into cubic shapes, alternate with these objects. After the main square, Rue Fagon continues into the renovated civic and commercial axis until reaching two squares shaped by the Place du Cratère, where large elliptical-shaped flowerbeds surround the monument to the astronomer Félix Tisserand like one of Saturn’s rings, and eventually coming to Place d’Argentine, where the Town Hall is located, and in which the paving traces a large parabolic curve that highlights the former’s façade.

The scope of the project has extended to some of the streets running transversally to the axis of the main street, for example Rue Gassendi, Rue du Granier à Sel, and Rue la Rue de Paul Cabet, which leads into the also-refurbished Place de l’Église. The networks of below-ground services were completely renovated before work began on the project and a special projector was designed to light the public space and show the facades and monuments to best advantage.

assessment

On the basis of a contemporary language but one that also respected the pre-existing structures, the project has rescued from disorder and oblivion the main values of a lovely town whose citizens can once again enjoy the pleasures of walking around the old centre. Since the intervention, commercial life has once again become very active and the café terraces have again filled with visitors who devotedly travel the Burgundy Route. With its dignified and celebratory character, the refurbishment of the historic town centre of Nuits-Saint-Georges, which has left behind the former disarray and discomforts caused by the indiscriminate occupation of the town centre by the private vehicle, enabled the town to receive a great number of visitors to the Saint-Vincent Tournante itinerant wine festival in February 2007.


David Bravo Bordas, architect.

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Rue Crébillon, after the intervention.

technical sheet

CITY: Nuits-Saint-Georges (5,335 inhabitants)

COUNTRY: France

BEGINNING OF THE PROJECT: 2003

BEGINNING OF WORK: 2005

END OF WORK: 2007

AREA: 10,000 m2

COST: 4,150,000 €

credits

DEVELOPER:

Mairie de Nuits-Saint-Georges

AUTHORS:

Florence Crépu, Albert-Gilles Cohen, Atelier Choiseul architectes urbanistes

COLLABORATORS:

Sophie Herbin, Bruno Thiébaut