“Nautrestation Parc” – Rives des Gaves

Department: Architecture
Author: Nasrine Seraji

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In 2009, the municipality of Pau Pyrenées launched a call for what is known as Études de definition, a preliminary study to define the limits of a future urban planning study.  Five architect-urbanists were shortlisted, amongst them Manuel de Sola-Morales, the famous Spanish urbanist adhering to the urban thinking of Jaussely, Cerda, and Sert. The project called for a method of work and not necessarily an urban plan.  All other competitors designed and filled the entire site, with road infrastructure as well as housing.

Our scheme, by contrast, critically questioned the utility of the urban master-plan model, and suggested that the site and zone of influence could not be treated in the same manner.  As a result, we proposed a method for collectively drawing up a “guide plan” for the municipality of Pau and the four neighbouring towns.  This was not an urban development plan, but a proposal that would allow subsequent urban plans of various complexities to be drawn up depending on land divisions, financing bodies and ecological landscape repairs.  This method necessitated the production of a collective, communal budget as well as a clear collaboration between the five municipalities.

The Project has catalysed shifts in regional/ governmental policies through new regulations for development of urban plans in flood plains.  It has also created a new set of regulations for the development of the site and its 650 hectares environs.  These new regulations such as building heights, flood proof ground level programmes, and the spreading of water retention basins throughout the site allow rainwater absorption over a large surface.

Two books have also been commissioned on the project by the City of Pau, one by Jean Attali (philosopher) and the other by our studio.

Enlarge Photo: “Nautrestation Parc” – Rives des Gaves 1