Contractor : City of Rennes
BASE landscape architect mandatory + INGEROP + DVVD + CSD Azur
Rennes / Île-et-Vilaine
budget / 9 M€
surface / 30 ha
completed by / 2014
Saint-Martin meadows are a fragment of nature in the North edge of Rennes city core.
Although they seem quite deserted, they offer a unique point of vue of the city and the opportunity to stand back from it.
Because of how hard it is to manage there, water shaped the site and enabled to preserve this natural area downtown. While keeping in mind this specific identity, the project envisions the meadows as a cultural and popular gathering place based on the urban culture peculiar to Rennes, which has a great range of festivals fostering the inhabitants to temporary or permanently appropriate the public space to themselves.
The spatial and vegetal structure of the plan mainly comes from the qualitative one that is currently on site. It is only about clarifying the different layers of the landscape. The site organization is based on a West to East gradient of nature and of humidity, from the most domestic to the wildest, from the dryest to the most humid. This gradation relies on landscape and spatial organization as much as on ecology. On the East edge, vast bodies of water are protected by a natural zone . While favouring the development of diversified damp environments (reed beds, eutrophic tall herbs, alluvial trees) and attracting wildlife, it stands as a flood plain for the Ille. Observation points are limited and hidden in order to let animals wander peacefully.
Saint-Martin meadows are more than a park, they question the position of nature and wildness in the city. The intention is not to set this place apart or to put it in opposition to the city. Nor is it to make it banal. Its ambiguous status paves the way for research, inventions and new uses linked to an urban nature that is fertile.