La Grande Mosaique Caen Master Plan, Port Transformation France, Architect, Docks Architecture
La Grande Mosaique Caen Masterplan
French Urban Planning Project – design by MVRDV, Architects
8 Feb 2016
La Grande Mosaique in Caen
MVRDV presents La Grande Mosaïque, 600 hectare urban plan in Caen, Normandy
Design: MVRDV, Architects
Rotterdam, February 8th, 2016 – La Grande Mosaïque, MVRDV’s urban planning project in Caen, France, has been in development for two years and has already seen a series of projects under construction within the masterplan, with many more breaking ground in the coming years. The 600 hectare masterplan tackles the problems caused by the area’s heavy industry and rapid de-industrialisation, integrating the historic aspects of the site with the natural environment. The development includes a mix of housing, offices, mixed-use buildings, public spaces and infrastructure; all stitched together and laid out using a spatial planning tool, ‘the offset’, created by MVRDV. In a move to engage locals, an exhibition of MVRDV’s works and Le Grand Mosaïque is open to public viewing in ‘Le Pavillon’, an exhibition space in the old city port, until the 13th March 2016.
MVRDV’s visionary masterplan for Presqu’ile de Caen reaches over 600 hectares of the historic city of Caen, stretching from the city centre along the long peninsular bordered by the Orne river and the canal leading to the sea. The masterplan looks to revitalise the area which was formerly home to the heavy industries of Caen that left the local environment scarred by years of pollution. The project is highly progressive in its scope, ambition and context. Not only does it integrate and respect the historic nature of the area but it also unites the city and its neighbouring towns, Hérouville Saint-Clair and Mondeville, and their vision for a development plan built up of a series of direct interventions. The masterplan includes a widely integrated series of uses including housing, offices, mixed-use buildings, public spaces and infrastructure.
The precise methodology that was applied to the project led to the development of a specific spatial planning tool, ‘the offset’. In practice this idea creates a secondary street network and shared public space around buildings and community areas to act as a mediator between the existing and new parts of the scheme. The offset takes the form of an urban version of the ‘bocage’, the historic hedgerows of Normandy, and gives back to the area the natural heritage that was taken from it during the industrial era; whilst at the same time it provides a base for future interventions to maintain the consistent poetry of the area. Winy Maas, co-founder of MVRDV, describes the project as ‘aiming for a beautiful urban valley abundant with hedges in the heart of Normandy’.
Three specific areas formed the base for further research, development and eventual intervention. Used as examples for the masterplan in its entirety, these zones underwent in depth analysis to further develop the offset tool with a much higher level of specificity, each with different guidelines which better reflected the specific qualities, characters and history of the area.
Through intensely layering the master-planning rules along with various scenarios and site-specific situations the final result is a highly effective, yet visionary, mosaic of infrastructure, building typologies, historical elements and natural environment. The design balances the need for specificity and flexibility which will allow Caen and its neighbouring towns to be able to cope with future development in a way that will restore the identity of the area rather than detract from it.
MVRDV worked on Le Grand Mosaïque alongside: co-architect, Diagram Architecture; landscape architects Territoires; urbanists, Pro Devéloppment; infrastructure specialists, Egis; sociologist Philippe Cabane; and model maker Made by Mistake.
MVRDV was set up in 1993 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands by Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries. MVRDV engages globally in providing solutions to contemporary architectural and urban issues. A research based and highly collaborative design method engages experts from all fields, clients and stakeholders in the creative process. The results are exemplary and outspoken buildings, urban plans, studies and objects, which enable our cities and landscapes to develop towards a better future.
Early projects by the office, such as the headquarters for the Dutch Public Broadcaster VPRO and WoZoCo housing for the elderly in Amsterdam lead to international acclaim. MVRDV develops its work in a conceptual way in which the changing conditions are visualised and discussed through designs, sometimes literally through the design and construction of a diagram. The office continues to pursue its fascination for and methodical research on density using a method of shaping space using the complex amounts of data that accompany contemporary building and design processes.The work of MVRDV is exhibited and published worldwide and has received numerous international awards. 120 architects, designers and other staff develop projects in a multi-disciplinary, collaborative design process which involves rigorous technical and creative investigation.
MVRDV works with BIM and has official in-house BREEAM and LEED assessors. Together with Delft University of Technology, MVRDV runs The Why Factory, an independent think tank and research institute providing an agenda for architecture and urbanism by envisioning the city of the future.
Caen Masterplan images / information from MVRDV
Previously on e-architect:
La Grande Mosaique, Caen
La Grande Mosaique, MVRDV selected to transform 600ha former industry in Caen, Normandy
To see all listed projects on a single map please follow this link.
New Buildings in France
French Architectural Projects
French Architecture Design – chronological list
French Architect Offices – design firm listings
Paris Architecture Walking Tours by e-architect
A recent Caen Building on e-architect:
Caen Law Courts
image from architects
Caen Law Courts Building
Another Caen Building on e-architect:
Caen Library Building – Bibliothèque Multimédia à Vocation Régionale
images © OMA
Caen Library Building
Recent MVRDV designs in France on e-architect:
The Beam, Villeneuve d’Ascq, north east France
picture © MVRDV
Villeneuve d’Ascq Masterplan
Dijon Mustard Lab, eastern France
photo : MVRDV
Recent French Masterplan designs on e-architect:
EuropaCity, Paris / Roissy, northern France
image from architect
EuropaCity France – 17 Apr 2013
Strasbourg – Kehl Zollhofareal, France / Germany – international competition win
image from architects
Strasbourg – Kehl Zollhofareal Competition – 7 Feb 2013
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