SQUARE GAMBETTA RENEWAL
LOCATION CARCASSONNE, FRANCE DEVELOPER CITY COUNCIL OF CARCASSONNE AREA 20.500 M2 BUDGET 3.851.000EUR YEARS 2003-2007
This big space, over 2 hectares in size, is the main entrance to the city of Carcassonne and the connection point between the Bastide, as it is known, and the medieval city founded in 1248 on the other side of the Aude River. The Bastide, as the Renaissance center is known, is the actual center of Carcassonne, housing all the representative buildings and most of the population of the city. The symbolic significance of this square lies not only on its position, but specially on the four rows of plane trees over 120 years old that set the scale of this large space.
Square Gambetta was nothing more than a roundabout with heavy traffic surrounding it when we started its transformation. The central space had been neglected for many years, detached from the activity of the city. Our proposal is simple and radical: clean all the space of added elements, reconnect the square with the city and its fluxes, and devolve the importance and significance that the ancient plane trees deserve.
Our design pedestrianizes one of the sides of the square in order to bring it right to the limits of the Bastide. This happens to be the most representative elevation of the piazza, including the Municipal Museum and the Treasury. Despite the formality and urban quality of these buildings, the character of Square Gambetta is ambiguous in nature, being at the same time an out-of-city promenade and an urban piazza.
This very ambiguity originates the main design feature of our proposal, EMBA’s purpose-designed pavement that ranges from 100% mineral to 100% vegetal. Thanks to this pavement and to subtle manipulations of the original topography this big, single space can be used in different, spontaneous ways that enliven the whole area.
EMBA: ENRIC MASSIP-BOSCH, MÀRIUS QUINTANA (PRINCIPALS ARCHITECTS); ALEIX ANTILLACH, HUBERT GILLIS (ARCHITECTS) CONSULTANTS: BET FIGUERAS (LANDSCAPE DESIGN); GUILHEM ARCHITECTES – ALBÍ (ARCHITECTS); TECHNIQUE ET COORDINATION (QUANTITY SURVEYORS); BEFS INGÉNIERIE (STRUCTURE AND FACILITIES)