2016 ongoing, Bordeaux, France
Place Gambetta will be an emblematic space in the center of Bordeaux. West 8’s winning proposal restores the dialogue between the historic eighteenth century facades and the picturesque landscape of the English garden. Nowhere in Bordeaux is the dialogue between architecture and nature so strong.
Today, wide roads and heavy traffic overwhelm the subtle narrative of Place Gambetta. The garden has become an island adrift from the walls, surrounded by a constant stream of traffic. West 8’s design proposal supports two tempos, the rapid pace of traffic and activity on the periphery and the slower pace of the garden. To achieve this balance, traffic will be diverted to the west to allow the pedestrianization of the eastern half of the square, restoring the pedestrian scale to Place Gambetta.
Limestone is the dominant material of the project, it highlights the square’s identity, facades and defines the outline of the garden. The Garden within Place Gambetta is based on the typology of English squares. Its features stone pathways the follow the contours of the garden. The paths form a connecting loop from various entrances, to the large lawn at the center of the garden. A dappled canopy of trees frame the garden, acting as a buffer against traffic noise, and enriching visual sightlines particularly in relation to the historic façades.
At the heart of the garden, amongst a wide range of tree species, a new fountain dedicated to Eleonore D'aquitaine, acts like a jewel with in the park, and will become the natural meeting point.
Renovation works are scheduled to begin in 2018 with the park slated for completion in 2020.