The downtown of Capbreton was fragmented in three parties by a roundabout: the shopping street, the parking and the market, and suffered of isolation and a deteriorated image. The municipality wished to give a new quality of the riversides. The edges of the Boudigau, the river which crosses the city, were occupied by parking lots, channelled by concrete, without any access to water for the inhabitants and tourists. The office “d’Une Ville à l’utre …” choose to put the project into a general relfection of revitalisation of the city. We worked to unify the downtown and to reinvigorate it.
In a geographic aspect, the project of Capbreton consisted in building a journey “from sea to land” along the river and the banks of the harbour. It also aimed at highlighting the alleys which served as hooks between the river and the shopping street, further inside the town. The first action of the project was to free the banks from cars and make it walkable for pedestrians. A submersible wooden pontoon follows the river, which goes up and down according to the tides, and a riparian vegetation is left to conquer the revealed lands.
On the street side, a low wall serves as a seat and put at the distance cars. The crossroads are pacified, and the “fronton” (local sport infrastructure) is rehabilitated, where new players occupy the premises. The circuit goes through the structure, forming a passage, covered by a net between the players and the spectators.
Moreover, some of cabins perching along the river, recording of the fishing huts, receive the visitors as shelters and propose a balcony. Hooked along the bridge, nets welcome people as hammocks and offer a view above the Boudigau.
To showcase these planning intentions, the visual artist, Sophie Balas, designed a color system displayed on colored poles, stools and ceramic tiles in the ground associated with the choice of house edge plantings. From the shopping street, each lane begins with a large colored pole and ends with a cabin facing it, via a belvedere.
According to the chromatic circle, the color system makes it possible both to sequence the route along the river and to distinguish each side lane by a particular signature.
It illustrates the strength of a singular plastic intervention to highlight the great moments of the landscape, to find one’s bearings in space by building a colorful and poetic progression.
Today all the users (pedestians, bikers, players of pelota, skaters, …) occupy and appropriate by themselves the different spaces, transforming the fonction and the image of Capbreton. We succeeded to create a project so as to reinvent the touristic station in its depth, to the beaches to the inlands.
D’Une Ville à l’autre … is an office of architecure, urbanism and landscape based in Toulouse. Elected to design and realize the project in Capbreton.
Other designers involved in the design of landscape (if any): Léo Mary, architect (office Plan B) Sophie Balas, artist
Project location: Allées Marines 40130 Capbreton FRANCE
Design year: 2018