ZAC Le Croissant  

At the boundary of Paris’ La Defense, between the office towers and parking garages of the business district, is the residential neighbourhood of Le Croissant. In between this urban assemblage is a new public landscape project that offers a highly useable space with adaptable conditions and an innovative mixed identity.

Topotek 1’s concept defines a design language that responds to its surroundings, characterised by peculiar monumental architecture of the 70s. Merging with the environment and encouraging diversity, accessibility, and use, the place hosts a collection of eclectic elements that propose new ways to use public space. Approachable urban objects and installations that, in turn, address and solve a common issue in spatial programming: the accommodation of different users. Children and parents find place here – but so do teenagers and young adults.

Following a participatory process, a catalogue of activities was proposed to inhabitants of the neighbourhood. The workshop defined specific activities grouped into several zone points on site. With the site formally organised into different typologies of urban public space, landscaped public space, park, and pedestrian areas, the programme is materialised by the distinct elements scattered throughout the areas. Innovative pieces from different countries provide for seating, leisure, workout, and play activities – from rounded ping-pong tables from Singapore and eye-catching trash bins designed for cyclists and runners from the Netherlands, to more familiar objects like exercise equipment, table football, park stools and benches. Defined white markings on the black asphalt suggest games with flexible rules, inviting users to use the guides however they want, whether to change common game rules or even to make up rules of their own.

In the end, the objects meet three criteria: they represent a novelty, come from a different context, or invert the usual uses of indoor and outdoor spaces. Planting follows this same concept: just like the diverse objects, the trees are from all over the world. A sustainable system of ‘green basins’ are dispersed all over the site. Simplifying and improving the water filtering process, they collect water which is filtered directly into the groundwater. Not only does the site created give regard to social and spatial relevance, but it also considers the pertinence of the existing ecology.

Other landscape architecture offices involved in the design of landscape (if any): Les Eclairagistes Associés, OGI Engineers

Project location: 50 Bd de Pesaro, 92000 Nanterre, France

Design year: 2013-2018 (Planning)

Year Built: 2020

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