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Partial view of the old industrial pavilions

BEFORE

images  (7)

AFTER
 

description

previous state

Located in the centre of Amiens, the site of the future park was an area of waste ground which had previously housed a number of the city's industrial facilities and, prior to the intervention, had been partially occupied by tennis courts, areas for model racing, and camping plots. There were no amenities for the city iteself. The site was also surrounded by small allotments (the hortillonages), whose geometry consisted of long, narrow plots which emerged from the water due to the former extraction of peat, and from the pond of Saint-Pierre, on the side adjacent to the historic centre, which originally received water from the River Somme but had become totally cut off from it. For the above reasons, the intervention needed to focus on the restoration of natural zones which constituted over a third of the spaces in the sector.

aim of the intervention

The basic aim was to create a park of twenty hectares in the city centre which would provide a large recreational space and could be used by inhabitants and tourists alike. It would have a clear multifunctional purpose: an ecological space, an everyday, recreational space, an open space which would be accessible for the city and the inhabitants in the suburbs, and reestablish the connection with the small allotments. Above all, the intervention needed to emphasise the landscape potential of the site: vegetation, water and the city, whilst reinforcing the traditional concept of Amiens as a "green" and "blue"city.

description

The design of the park originated from the contours of the River Somme as it cut through the land, dividing up and branching off into multiple inlets and irrigation and transportation channels, creating a landscape of marshlands. The river is, therefore, the element which most clearly identifies the park, and the pond is nothing more than a derivation of it. For this reason, the north-west boundary of the pond is characterised by a network of ramifications of land and water which dissolve into the surface of the pond itself. The 620-metre-long "Promenade des Jours", links up the park from east to west and enables us to discover the treatment of the landscape described above, and the water gardens which evoke the hortillonages, whilst affording a view of Amiens Cathedral. Another walk, running north to south, introduces the other spaces in the park, such as the extensive play area and, lastly, the family allotments, consisting of small plots rented out to people. The role of the park as a link between its different outlying districts is shown in the way its edges have been developed. This is borne out by the walkway over the canal of the Somme which links the Sant-Leu district to the park.

assessment

Since the park opened, the inhabitants of Amiens have taken possession of this new public space. The park has succeeded in linking up the central districts (Saint-Leu and the Universities) and the area of the hortillonages, in bringing the outlying northern districts closer and revitalising the historic centre as a focus for tourism. At the same time, it has reclaimed a natural urban space in the Valley of the Somme.

Albert García Espuche, architect

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The Saint-Pierre pond with the Amiens cathedral in the background

technical sheet

CITY: Amiens (138,816 inhabitants)

COUNTRY: France

BEGINNING OF THE PROJECT: 1990

BEGINNING OF WORK: 1992

END OF WORK: 1995

AREA: 200,000 m2

COST: 10,671,400 €

credits

AUTHORS:

Jacqueline Osty

COLLABORATORS:

Lionel Orsi