Article by Frank Bourque – The Grand Ensemble Park, by Espace Libre, in Alfortville, France Landscape architecture is a vital reality in all parts of the world. The best proof of that is that numerous projects are popping up in every country which unify the vision of a perfectly organized green space. One very impressive project that has been recently made official is the Grand Ensemble Park, a residential-area-and-park-brought-into-one concept in Alfortville, a small town in France.
The Grand Ensemble Park
How it Mimics the Cornerstones of Urban Planning (Set in 1943)
A great way to present the benefits of landscape architecture, its environmentally-friendly impact and the neat design principles that this direction in architecture presents is to introduce you to the Grand Ensemble Park, a new neighborhood area in Alfortville, France, which was planned on the basis of the design principles found in the Athens Charter.For the ones who don’t know, the Athens Charter is a document about urban planning that was created in 1943 by a Swiss architect called Le Corbusier, as a guide which scratched the surface of possibilities and set the cornerstones of landscape architecture. The great thing about the Grand Ensemble Park is not only the fact that this project mimics the Athens Charter and all of its guidelines and directions, but it actually includes all of the principles from the document put to practice in all the common areas. The neighborhood is therefore more organized when it comes to the public and private spaces and features an innovative design that sets the level higher when it comes to urban planning.
From Private Living Spaces To Public Playground Areas
Landscape design is a thing that cannot be done overnight. In the Grand Ensemble Park, it actually took 2 full years of planning (from 2013 to 2015), whereas the execution of this project took one full year (from 2015 to 2016). However, the results definitely justify the years spent in planning, and give all residents of the Grand Ensemble Park and Alfortville a new hotspot in their city that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. The Grand Ensemble Park is basically a mixture of both private and public living spaces and playgrounds. Because of that mixture, it resembles a community that everyone can access and enjoy themselves in.The redefinition of residential spaces is fundamental in landscape design. The Grand Ensemble Park is set in a strong central public space and designed to be a neighborhood park which is spread on a 600m long and 20m wide axis, allowing room for the green spaces in the park that are surrounding the residential areas. The public facilities are located on both sides of the strong residential axis, which actually creates a link from one side of the park to the other. Including both urban and green spaces, this park focuses on bringing the very best for every age group, from toddlers to children and even teenagers. Although a large part of the unitary lawn is given to the people living in the neighborhood, the idea of living in a park and being a part of community where green spaces are the main focus is definitely an idea worth following.
A Neighborhood with a Public- and Environmentally-Friendly Character
From a design perspective, all of the principles of urban planning and modern landscape architecture are kept in the Grand Ensemble Park in Alfortville. From the lines to the shapes and the materials used, Espace Libre made sure to focus on nothing but quality and give the community a twist of modernist architecture that still backs up some of the initial urban planning principles from the Athens Charter document. That can be best seen in the force lines of the design, as well as the shapes and materials that all reflect the image of the Swiss urban planning heritage but also deliver a modern architecture look to Grand Ensemble Park.Alfortville can now be proud of having a project that naturally leads to redefining the spaces and giving modern urban planning a completely new direction. Both inhabitants and visitors can enjoy the park and merge with the community within the Grand Ensemble Park or as residents, have a greener and more modern and environmentally-friendly home. Ambiguously open, all of the neighborhoods are organized to be in the center of the public space, packing in more than 300 homes. There is a large park surrounding them and a playground for kids of all ages (basketball courts benches, swings etc.). In the central part, there is even a toddlers’ playground. The green spaces include grass fields, trees, and nicely designed walkways that allow easy connection to each and every part of the park itself.
A Final Word
The opportunity to live, play or just enjoy being in the park is what each and every family member wants in the 21st century and something that is quite limited by the ultra-developed, too-crowded and constantly busy city locations. In the end, we can say that the Grand Ensemble Park definitely creates a natural symphony in the heart of Alfortville and perfectly mimics all aspects of urban planning and landscape architecture, creating a safe and livable neighborhood. Which aspects of this project stand out for you? Let us know in the comment section.
Full Project Credits For The Grand Ensemble Park:
Project: “The Grand Ensemble Park” Designer: Espace Libre Size: approx. 4.5 acres (1.8 ha) Location: Alfortville, France Date of Construction: 2015 to 2016 Chef of the public planning bureau: Karim Amokrane Budget for the project: 2 million Euros Recommended Reading:
- Becoming an Urban Planner: A Guide to Careers in Planning and Urban Design by Michael Bayer
- Sustainable Urbanism: Urban Design With Nature by Douglas Fa