MVRDV presents masterplan for Bastide Niel, Bordeaux (NL/FR)

On Friday December 9, the Urban Community of Bordeaux (CUB) and MVRDV presented the masterplan for Bastide Niel, a 35 ha extension of Bordeaux's city center onto the right bank of Garonne River.

The dense urban masterplan will offer 3,200 homes, offices and urban amenities, respect the existing fabric of the city and become one of the largest zero energy neighborhoods in the world.

The project Bastide Niel, with an envisioned urban program of up to 375,000 m², is regarded the most significant contemporary urban intervention in Bordeaux. But the character of the new neighborhood will be intimate: a 'capillary city', a contemporary update of the European city, combining history, human scale and individualism with density and sustainability. Construction is to start in 2014.

Bastide Niel will become a lively extension to the city center with a mixed program of 3,200 homes, 25,000 m² of retail, 25,000 m² of offices, 15,000 m² of crafts and 58,000 m² of public facilities such as a university building, the municipal archives, a cultural building, community center, schools, day care centers and sport facilities, such as a skate park.

The 35 ha site near the Garonne River lies within walking distance from the historic UNESCO-listed center of Bordeaux and is currently occupied by warehouses, redundant barracks and rail embankments. The question was how to create a vibrant neighborhood in tradition of but as well as an update of the European city: historic, mixed and intimate; light, green and dense.

The existing historic structures have served as basis for the masterplan which follows the rail tracks and the lay-out of the barracks. All historic structures, railways, and platforms will be maintained and maximally densified, this new interpretation of the history makes the existing an active part and starting point for the new.

Around these artifacts a network of six to 10 meter narrow streets is created leading to a safe traffic system with equal rights for cars, public transport, bikes and pedestrians. Most streets are one-way, serviced from the riverside or from the opposite avenue, whilst the tramway will be safely isolated on a special lane.

This road, alley and lane network results in an intimate, capillary city with 144 city blocks. Inhabitants will live in an urban environment comparable to a historic city center. The envelopes developed by strictly applied light rules allow flexibility: ground floors may accommodate either residences, offices or shops.

In-between and inside the blocks is space for small parks, pocket gardens and squares which add additional green to the large riverside Parc aux Angéliques designed by Michel Desvignes.

Due to the vicinity of the river, parking will be solved above ground level. The plan suggests research into a UNESCO-friendly pedestrian glass bridge following the former main axis of the barracks, Allée cavalière.

To achieve rich architectural variety the 144 blocks will be commissioned to 144 different architecture offices, an alternative IBA emerges. The existing buildings on site, among them the former Caserne Niel will be preserved, transformed or extended and become part of the neighborhood.

The immediate neighbors have been engaged in a public participation process, this resulted among others in collective responsibility for communal gardens and a respectful small scale neighborhood adjacent to the existing homes at Rue Hortense.

Vincent Feltesse, President of the CUB, says: "We have chosen MVRDV because of its sensitive reading of the possibilities of the site. Bordeaux will extend its center with an excellent new urban quarter which will be an innovative, social and sustainable example."

Winy Maas adds: "What a wonderful task to develop the 'Rive Droite' of Bordeaux into an echo of the historical city center. Bastide Niel becomes a contemporary update of the European city."

The zero energy ambition is reached through a series of interventions: A geothermal installation will pump up heat from 1 km depth. On the roofs and south facad

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