SERIAL COLLECTIVITY 04

  • Competion
  • Dijon
  • F
  • 2005
  • i.c.w. Jelle Post
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Serial Collectivity 04 concerns the transformation of the Quartier des Tanneries by a careful (re-) definition of its present spatial and programmatical structure and urban identity. The project meets the intriguing suggestion implicitly stated in the competition brief to combine both ‘urban’ and ‘suburban’ qualities into one urban scheme and ‘innovative’ housing typology. A suggestion that seems to be quite appropriate on this particular site, which spatial character at present appears to be almost rural in a metropolitan way, or vice-versa, with the large, international railway literally flying-over a landscape of small houses and gardens, quiet streets and pastoral imagery on the side the river.

Serial Collectivity 04 elaborates this theme in focusing on the interrelation of past and present, and of individual and collective space. It offers a clear and deliberate (re-)definition of different types of urban space within the framework of the existing. Each space is specified by its spatial (open, closed, inward, outward, linear, shattered, dividing, connecting, …) and social (ranging from individual to collective) characteristics. The future Quartier des Tanneries is conceived as a self-contained quarter with a strong and unique spatial identity, composed of different smaller individual bits and pieces, both existing and new, swirling around a large and open collective space, mutually connected with the river Ouche and the Railroad by a fine and subtle collective spatial structure, which self-evidently fits in the spatially as well as historically valuable urban fabric of the city of Dijon.

Serial Collectivity 04 combines the historically determined spatial characteristics of the site with the more general concept of open and infinite urban space that was so meticulously elaborated by post-war urbanism: the unique spatial quality that could be described by the collective freedom of choice to move from a to b in many different, individual and more or less attractive ways. In combining the positive qualities of the concept of openness with historical determination the project intends to appropriately express the present meaning of both urban and suburban space into one urban scheme.

Serial Collectivity 04 also explores the possibilities of architecture to establish and refine these urban qualities. The project introduces a specific collective typology of small-scale and individual architectural objects, that are cautiously inserted into the site alongside both the former and present course of the river Ouche, containing different sized, ‘Casco’ apartments. The individual character of the objects is established by their self-contained architectural form, their individual orientation within the urban scheme and in the divergent possibilities of apartments within the Casco’s, that are differentiated by a systematical exploration of various daylight conditions. Their collective character is defined by their serial layout and identical but possibly varied materialization that is based on an expressive redefinition of the typical imagery of historical Burgundy architecture.

So, in other words, the project explicitly questions the architectural doctrine of ‘the new’ and the often unarticulated urgency for radical change that seems to characterize so many urban redevelopments and spatial interventions of both the present and the past, especially those concerning urban places and neighborhoods that don’t reveal their often stubborn, but special and specific urban qualities and possibilities at first sight and therefore are not easily recognized or defined, let alone explored or protected. Serial Collectivity 04 rather proposes to look very carefully to what’s already there, take it out, dust it of, redefine its present urban quality, spatial characteristics and possible actual meaning and put it back in place again. It considers historical continuity as a major ingredient in the transformation of the spatial and built environment in general and of special and specifically urban places like the Quartier des Tanneries in Dijon in particular.

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1. La Colline d’Aubriot

The physical waste of the demolished ‘Foyer Aubriot’ building is used to create an artificial hill in the adjacent open space. The artificial hill seems to grow out of the existing railway core; together they establish an even, but hilly and unpolished artificial landscape without formal paths or other restrictions, free accessible for man and animal. The hill, La Colline d’Aubriot (memorizing the demolished building), is located at the centre of the site, an urban ‘Fremdkörper’ that generates a strong image for the site, while simultaneously creating a sort of focal point around which all major structuring elements seem to swirl, spatially relating everything to each other: the present River Ouche, the former river Ouche, the railway core and viaduct, the roads, the existing building stock and the surrounding quarters of Dijon.

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A part of the old course of the river Ouche is opened to the surface until the point where it touches the artificial landscape.

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2. Le Chemin du Poète Tragique & Le Chemin de la Voie Ferreé

Two different pathways, not accessible for motorized vehicles, enter the site, creating a specific spatial and thematical relation between the site and certain specific elements in the surrounding fabric. Each path establishes a clearly defined, self-contained, linear spatial entity with head and tail, within the urban scheme.

Le Chemin du Poète Tragique starts at the Centre Départemental, crosses the grounds of the Lycée Le Castel, follows the banks of the river Ouche and ends at the statue of Crebillon, or vice-versa. The path runs along the river on water level; it’s materialized by large, prefab concrete stepping stones that are flooded when the water is high. At certain locations junctions disperse into the site.

Le Chemin de la Voie Ferreé starts at the ramp that leads up the old fortification north of the site, follows the artificial landscape of the railway core, crossing the streets below by several new bridges, turns on la Colline d’Aubriot, descends, and ends at the old course of the river Ouche, or vice-versa. This path is materialized as an old, derelict railway track, including old rusty poles (now used for lightning) and all: an intended historical falsification, creating a strong and melancholic image and spatial entity that inextricably bounds up railway core and viaduct with the new Quartier des Tanneries.

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3. Le Chemin des Tanneries

A third pathway encircles the site. Opposite to the other two this one’s got no head, nor tail, but is circular and infinite; it offers the possibility to go round ‘n round, showing all of the Quartier des Tanneries and its structuring spatial elements. Different side-paths reach into the artificial landscape; in fact they peter out into the landscape, offering an explicit invitation to continue one’s path in any direction. Others offer acces to the banks of the river Ouche and the adjacent Chemin du Poète Tragique.

4. Roads

The new layout of roads is intended to give access to the Quartier from all sides, linking up closely with existing roads in the surrounding fabric, self-evidently connecting the Quartier with the city of Dijon and its existing infrstructure, while preserving the relative calm and quiet atmosphere of the Quartier. All roads only offer one-way access for cars and speed everywhere is restricted to a maximum 30 km/h. New roads mainly follow the existing ones and the old river course, with a few alterations here and there; encircling la Colline, touching the river and providing access to and from the Avenue Jaurès and future developments in the South by crossing the river. Together with the existing ones encircling the site, the Boulevard du Castel and the Rue du Pont des Tanneries, they’re intended to establish the Quartier des Tanneries as a very large sort of down-tempo roundabout, a quiet urban pivot in the midst of the infrastructural web of Dijon.

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5. Parking

Individual parking spaces (500 cars) are simply laid out along one side of the roads: individual urban spaces in their own right, generating a collective character in their specific serial layout and direction. In the former Rue d’Alger, that is bent off in order to touch the river and to continue the Rue de L’Ile, around the existing apartmentbuilding the Forêt de Parking is planned; a monumental space for free parking the Mediterranean way; under the trees.

6. Existing parcels and built mass

As much as possible of the existing buildings in the Quartier are maintained, renovated or, if necessary or wished, replaced by new ones that fit the scale of the existing parcels; together providing for at least 12.000 m2 of mixed program (or at least 80 dwellings, together with several spaces for small businesses and shops). These existing lots and buildings are sold to individual citizens in order to be developed accordingly; individual urban spaces that allow a certain balanced, but essential amount of private initiative within the urban scheme.

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7. New mass and individual gardens

A specific collective typology of small-scale and individual architectural objects of different sizes and height is cautiously inserted into the site, alongside both the former and present course of the river Ouche and neatly fitting in with the existing fabric and fragments. Together they contain 140 ‘Casco’ apartments, varying from 75 to 145 m2 each.??

At the intersection of the Rue de l’Ile and the Place du 1er Mai a monumental Unité d’Habitation (a) is planned alongside the river and above the existing trees that are replaced by new steel ones supporting the building, leaving a special, collective urban space underneath, the Espace d’Ouche. The new mass restructures and links up with all existing large linear volumes that swirl around the Place du 1er Mai and relates the Place spatially to the Quartier des Tanneries and the river. Two smaller fragments of the Unité (b) are to be located at the place where the two courses of the river meet, creating the Place d’Ouche and spatially connecting the two courses of new buildings. The Unités together contain 84 apartments, some small shops (at the Place d’Ouche) and some mixed program (like a Unité should).

Along the courses of buildings 80 individual gardens are laid out, providing for a certain programmatical need of private recreation.

8. Specialties and monuments

(a) Le Forêt de Parking: park your car the Mediterranean way, or wherever you like on the small pebbles, shielded from sun and view under the trees.
(b) Le Pavillion Crebillon: a Salle des Fêtes for the neighborhood, halfway the Chemin du Poète Tragique, where the road meets the river.
© L’Espace d’Ouche: a large collective and open space underneath the artificial steel trees that support the Unité.
(d) Le Foyer du 1er Mai: a collective interior space with outside terrace above the trees, on the first floor of the Unité overlooking the Place du 1er Mai and the river. The space is accessed by a ramp leading up from the Espace d’Ouche.

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(e) Le Monument du Poète Tragique.
(f) Le monument de la Voie Ferrée: an old existing water tower replaced along the new derelict railway on top of La Colline, enhancing the dislocating historical falsification.

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(g) Les Vaches Lumineuses: the artificial landscape is planted with artificial luminous cows, referring to the historic context of the Tanneries, but also to the works of the artist Angela Bulloch shown at Le Consortium at the time of the competition. Every single cow defines a specific place within the artificial landscape, all places with a specific programmatical use, content or intention that is represented by the color of the light.

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9. All collective space of the new Quartier des Tanneries in one view.

10. All individual space of the new Quartier des Tanneries in one view.

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Serial Collectivity 04 explores the possibilities of architecture to establish and refine the urban scheme. The project introduces a specific collective typology of small-scale and individual architectural objects containing two, semi-detached ‘Casco’ apartments; providing a certain amount of unfinished, free floor space and a central core with piping, power, etc. . Every apartment can be rearranged, divided and finished according to the individual needs, wishes or taste of the occupants. They can fulfill any possible program, though different combinations of living and small-scale businesses or homework seem most appropriate.

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All architectural objects appears singular and self-contained, but all are identical in concept and form. Every single one fits in neatly with the existing urban fabric and fragments, but all together they generate a certain spatial and imagenary unity, a specific architectural identity for the Quartier des Tanneries. Each object consist of a simple concrete structure of walls and floors with a fixed span; the structural Casco. Each floor provides 3 meters of free height. By scaling the floor span (4800-5400-6000-6600mm) the size of the objects is differentiated, providing identical Casco’s in four sizes (75-90-115-145m2). From the outside each object appears like three adjacent rectangular volumes, heights varying from 3 to 5 levels , roof and basement excluded, with pitched roofs, referring to the architectural image of both a traditional urban warehouses and a popular suburban cottage.

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The facades of different individual apartments within these collective concrete Casco’s are finished with apartment-sized, individually differentiated, prefab panels. Each panel offers exactly the same percentage of window surface (defined according to current building regulations) that is distributed over three separate windows. By systematically varying the size of the windows and distributing them accordingly over each panel divergent daylight conditions are realized for every single apartment, architecturally transforming the identical spaces and providing every single apartment with an individual character that is simply generated by the distribution of daylight on walls, floors and ceilings, as is shown by analysis’s. So architecture becomes a very subtle and elaborate play of light in which everything that seemed similar at first sight, inside appears to be totally differentiated, and which offers to future occupants an invidual choice of spaces within a collective, urban architecture.

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The materialization of the architectural objects is based on an expressive redefinition of the typical and graphic imagery of historic Burgundy architecture. Facades and roofs are clad with traditionally glazed Burgundy tiles in different colors, offering the possibility of creating different graphic patterns that, again, represent the interrelation between the notions individual and collective and past and present. Each single apartment gets a unique graphic pattern on its facade that expresses its individual character, while all individual facades generate a continuous graphic pattern that interferes with the concrete grid of walls and floors and represents the collective whole of the building. The traditional graphic patterns are adjusted and reinterpreted into contemporary images and symbols. For example a painting by the artist Peter Halley would be most appropriate as an image or pattern for these tiled facades, itself representing the complexity of interrelationships between different cells or dwellings in present society. Window openings are clad with glass on all sides, slightly sticking out of the tiled façade, creating a sort of glass boxes that catch as much daylight as they can in order to enhance the differentiated play of light.

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