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The Leisure Center at Madine: The $14.5 Million Investment in Ecology and Tourism

The Leisure Center at Madine by Urbicus

Leisure Centre of Madine, by Urbicus, Versailles, France

Finding a balance point for a project located in a natural place involves listening carefully to the environment in order to preserve its essence. The Madine Lake — or Lac de Madine — in The River Meuse, France, is located in the heart of the Regional Natural Park of Lorraine, which is home to a great variety of local flora and fauna. It is one of the largest lakes in the country, with an 11,000-hectare stretch of water, 250 hectares of forest, and 42 kilometers of banks and shores. This beautiful setting has always been an attraction for European tourists and sport lovers, laying the groundwork for a perfect opportunity to develop a project that responds to the exigencies for responsible tourism.

The Leisure Center at Madine by Urbicus

The Leisure Center at Madine by Urbicus

Planning and Designing the Leisure Center at Madine

The Leisure Centre of Madine is the result of four years of negotiation among local authorities (Le Syndicat mixte d’amenagament du Lac de Madine, La Region Lorraine, Le conseil general de la Meuse, and le GIP objectif Meuse) to respect and protect the natural heritage of the site. The total investment of the renovation project is valued at 60 million euros, but only 14.5 million euros has been spent so far.

The Leisure Center at Madine by Urbicus

The Leisure Center at Madine by Urbicus

The reorganization integrates various criteria for tourism and environmental care. The redevelopment project is divided into two sectors, the first located in the northern area of Nonsard and the other located in the south, at Heudicourt. The construction takes into account a number of issues:

  • The improvement of traffic routes, which aim to value and secure pedestrians and cyclists by isolating the flux of vehicles, setting them apart from the shoreline.
  • The hierarchy of areas: The main poles in Nonsard and Heudicourt will revolve around themed areas for sport and wellness, outdoor leisure activities, and a lakeside village.
  • The preservation of the site through taking into account environmental standards for development and construction.
  • The attractiveness and diversity of activities gathered in one place: sports, beach, accommodations, concerts, events, etc.
The Leisure Center at Madine by Urbicus

The Leisure Center at Madine by Urbicus

The construction of the complex was scheduled in two phases. The first phase, from 2013 until mid-2014, comprised the renovation of the equestrian center on Heudicourt and the construction of the House of the Promenade, where tourists are welcomed and given information about the leisure activities. The complex expects to welcome 350,000 holidaymakers in the coming seasons. Related Articles:

The port deepening will take into account the agreement signed by the partners to preserve local biodiversity. The protocol takes note of periods of low water flow and the reproductive needs of a number of fish species. The second phase includes the construction of accommodations and the rebuilding of the captaincy and enlargement of the port, as well as the development of private investments for local commerce.

The Leisure Center at Madine by Urbicus

The Leisure Center at Madine by Urbicus

Leisure Center at Madine Renovation: from Concept to Reality

The complex designed by Urbicus Studio, headed by French architect Jean-Marc Gaulier, has created a unique architectural response that fuses with the landscape in a harmonious way. The studio was founded in 1996, and the team developed a term – Naturbanity — which refers to dealing with urban issues in terms of “architecture of the land area”. In other words, the team strives to design in such a way as to protect nature from urban and tourist pressure by leaving the landscape as natural as possible, re-establishing an ecologically healthy relationship between nature and culture. An Ambition Shared by Everyone for the Leisure Center at Madine Having been a natural area for a long time, the park remains flexible, moving at the pace of the demands of tourism but with a responsible attitude. This is reflected in the selection of natural materials used in the project, such as wood, rusty steel, gravel, and fine sand that increase the sensation of being in a natural atmosphere, little intervened by man. The Leisure Centre at Madine is defined by subtle architectural strokes. A curvy complex inspired by water movement is the guideline that organizes the whole building program. The complex is perceived as a great unit; the wooden promenades elevate from the ground and become the roof of the main building — Maison de la Promenade — where pedestrians can walk above or below.

The Leisure Center at Madine by Urbicus

The Leisure Center at Madine by Urbicus

Later, it falls gradually, forming an undulating surface. Alongside the building, the terrace of the bar de la Plage faces the shoreline, giving a wonderful view of the venue. The architects left untouched the edge of the esplanade, in order to turn it into a relaxing and contemplative area during the last hours of the day. The blue of the sky and green of the vegetation are reflected in the building façade, which has different glass opacities. Slow-growing grasses with very low water requirements, prairies, tall grasses, plants, and seasonal flowers are planted in strips and shrubs. Furthermore, aquatic plants placed in small banks are part of the greenery used in the landscape project. Denser trees give shade to the picnic area, offering a fresher spot in warm summers. The lake has a wooden pier, fine sand beaches for sunbathing, and a set of showers near the esplanade.
The Leisure Center at Madine by Urbicus

The Leisure Center at Madine by Urbicus

The relevance of this project lies in the challenge of finding the integration of nature and social elements in the design of new environmental landscapes. Thus, the goal of the project is to preserve the evolution of an ecosystem that is a characteristic of a protected area’s natural region. Developers and designers have a great responsibility to create strategies for positive impact in the life of the community. Recommended Reading:

Article by Claudia Canales Return to Homepage

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