“The marshland had a grandiose beauty about it in September, with its lush plant life of a green already mixed with spots of red. Life abounded. It was the time of ripe peaches. Tribes of birds and rodents busied themselves in these early days of autumn. On this morning, a light curtain of mist, soon to be pierced by the sun’s rays, blurred the shapes of the trees while, bowed under the weight of the dew, the leaves of grass of the pathway glistened like pearl garlands. Ragris was awoken by the cool of the dawn. It was the season he liked best”. Georges Montforez, Les Enfants du marais, Gallimard, Paris, 1958.
In Riorges, the architecture becomes a palimpsest. Literature, cinema, architecture and nature are superimposed in a combination rarely seen before. Why? Because the site of our project is the very terrain described in Georges Montforez’s novel, Les Enfants du marais, from which Jean Becker adapted his film starring, amongst others, Eric Cantona. It is a delicate architectural project which, in terms of design, attracts the visitor’s attention to the work of fiction inspired by the marshes.
The Promenades des Marais are a new kind of living environment; at once a bucolic landscape park, ideal for a leisurely stroll, and an integrated retail park equipped with playful learning facilities.
The focus is on the historic marshlands, the true centre of attraction of the site as a whole. That is why the retail park project wraps itself around this protected area by creating a landscape park next to the marshlands. The contrast between the car parks and the humid zone is entirely eliminated in favourof a gradual transition between the “little jungle” and the buildings. Cars are absent from these spaces, with traffic lanes leading to car parks arranged in succession between the retail buildings. The principle underpinning this approach to traffic is to present the landscaped park and the retail buildings in sequence and to provide pockets of parking spaces within that sequence.
The park truly is a lung providing oxygen for the commercial facades. It is constituted, on the southern side, by a raised deck of FSC retified beech bordered by restaurants and, on the other side, by an avenue in stabilized material. These two pedestrian walkways provide access to all the commercial facades. On the northern side, exposed to the sun, the width of the ambulatory provides space for children’s play areas. This exterior mall calls to mind a restanque built with the yellow stone of the Brionnais region. The two ambulatories are linked by walkways. Meanwhile, the park also provides a number of play areas for children.