Today's proposal: Quai de Queyries, Bordeaux by ecdm

Today a proposal by Paris-based ecdm, precisely a mixed-use project for the city of Bordeaux, entitled Quai de Queyries. Overall, this mixed project consists of housing and retails. It aims at linking natural landscape and housing envisaging a new way of dwelling in a mix of urban and natural environments.

Aerial view of Quai de Queyries, Bordeaux © ecdm

This concept arises from six key dynamics:

Element of a vaster territory 

The agency explores the polymorphous territory of the rive droite that intertwines void and vegetation. Here, the vegetation plays an important role as it participates in re-organizing this urban fabric. The aim of this layout is to generate an innovative public space.

Interior of the block of apartments, Quai de Queyries, Bordeaux © ecdm

Urban paradize

Closed to the river, an unbuilt space, disconnected to the center, will be shifted into a mix of human elements — block of apartments, human activities — and natural elements. The idea behind this is to reinvent a way of dwelling, to enhance living conditions of future and existing dwellers in this mix of natural and urban environments.

Elevations Hortense, Quai de Queyries, Bordeaux, © ecdm

Living in a landscape

Landscaped mixed-use block seems to be the goal of this mixed-use project. While, at first, natural elements could be considered as 'technical' constraints, ecdm's proposal aims to turn this disadvantage into a force. Better still: to create an reinvented urbanity with the aim of combining nature and urban.

Elevations Queyries, Quai de Queyries, Bordeaux, © ecdm
> As seen, these two elevations show the link between built volumes and natural elements

Layered villas

As mentioned earlier, the idea of this proposal is to explore how to dwell an environment that generates ways of dwelling, shared values, and natural elements. Each apartment will be conceived as a superimposed villa, much more like a layered villa, that will be linked with the surrounded environment. These apartments will be equipped with terraces, balconies, loggia, generous and flexible interior spaces, etc.

Ventilation © ecdm
> The orientation of the volumes facilitates not only ventilation within the block as seen in this diagram,
but also sunlight. This allows for a better scenic view for dwellers.

Toward zero VRD

ecdm envisions a 'zero VRD' (Voirie Réseaux Divers for roads system and urban public utilities*) along with a restriction a minima of roads and utilities infrastructure maintenance by preserving the qualities of the block and limiting development and maintenance costs of the block. ecdm's proposal, rather, aims at 'collaborating' with nature and constraints by dissolving a range of technical issues — sunlight, water, air, topography, geology, etc. — into a landscaped logic that will improve quality of life. The road system will be designed as a green one-way road that will be accessible only to fire engines, deliveries, moving vans and garbage collections.

Sketch © ecdm
> Green roofs will be accessible to the dwellers arising social relationship between dwellers, and a
harmony between the dwellers and fauna and insects.
If I refer to this sketch, gardening may be allowed on rooftop.

Re-organization of hazardous elements

The orientation of the volumes allows for a better ventilation and daylight of the block of apartments, as well as a better scenic view for the inhabitants. The green structure will be defined along with uses, the biodiversity, sewage and water system. Three-room accommodations and more will consist of double-oriented accommodations.

Diagram © ecdm
This diagrams highlights easily the relationship between the built volumes (building footprint = 20%), private
platforms (50%), and natural elements (40%). These volumes are characterized by
their placements to facilitate preservation of natural elements. 
Collective platforms © ecdm
As mentioned, natural elements occupy 40% of the site. This diagram shows the preservation
of the biodiversity. The internal courtyard offers best uses for the dwellers: playgrounds and green features.
Quai de Queyries, Bordeaux © ecdm

Axonometry © ecdm
Section © ecdm

Plans © ecdm
Site © ecdm

My point of view
It is difficult to judge a proposal but in my view, beyond the relationship of housing and natural elements, this dwelling project aims, firstly, at exploring the relationship of built environment and natural environments in the port city of Bordeaux with its 235,981 inhabitants (urban and metro areas not included). Here green features occupy more than 40 percent whilst built volumes only 20%. This will be becoming a gageure for housing projects in this new era.
The orientation of built volumes are conceived to arise best living conditions for the inhabitants, including ventilation inside the interior blocks, daylight, scenic views. Interior spaces contain all the specific needs for the inhabitants including terraces, and balconies. Flexible green roofs are becoming standard in France, in particular for public and private apartments, allowing gardening for residents that will not have the chance (or time) for private gardening. This may be the case with this housing project. At least, these green roofs will offer the possibility to enjoy flora and insects. The interior courtyard will be designed as a landscaped courtyard offering playgrounds for children, trees, and flowers.

Source: ecdm

Building sheet

Project: Quai de Queyries, Bordeaux
Program: Housing, Retails
Architects: ecdm
Client: Bordeaux Metropole Aménagement
Location: Quai de Queyries, Bordeaux, France
Site area: 23 000 sqm
Built area: 45 000 sqm SHON
Status: Competition
Year: 2011

*VRD or Voirie Réseaux Divers  seems to be translated into Roads system and urban public utilities.

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