Clairières wishes to articulate and develop a contemporary adaptation of a particular individual and collective desire to return to nature incarnated by the archetypical destination of the forest. Rather than living by the forest, the project intends to establish a new territory whereby dwellers would be living in the forest, avoiding a sedate and conciliatory use of vegetation as an ornamental attribute of housing, seeking the collision between wilderness and domesticity. All construction will be concentrated inside six towers, which will rise isolated above the trees of the forest, a small commercial facility and the hockey-rink. The area covered by each tower is defined by the different size of its corresponding sports court. The stacking of hybrid functions, sports and living, topped by a roof garden with a cantilevered volume available for communal uses, is the constitutive principle of the architecture of the project. Within the forest a compressed geography of scattered elements creates a horizontal landscape of leisure. A privileged relationship with nature (“inhabiting nature”) is fostered through the concentration of the built matter within a reduced number of architectural elements, imagined as sufficiently discrete in volume and appearance as not to interfere with the growing vegetation of the future forest where the project is installed. The slow creation of an uncontrolled and spontaneous vegetal fragment is the ultimate objective of the project: nature in its purest and undomesticated form.
The competition brief asks how the new programmes should contribute to the restructuring of the area by extracting existing qualities and giving the local centre a clearer identity and structure. The jury has selected two projects that work with the existing nature qualities of the site.
Both projects put forth the hypothesis "what if we let the nature of the place take over the whole site?"
For "Clairières", this investigation results in a reinforcement of existing elements in nature. The existing forest ("the jungle") is extended and covers the whole competition site. An important aim is to bring the contemporary human being closer to nature.
Forest clearings give way to high-rise buildings of 9-14 stories. The diffused, pavilionary urban structure of the competition site is continued, an approach that integrates naturally with the existing built environment.
The strategy enables an important discussion of the balance between nature and buildings, as superposed programmatic layers.
Fabrizio GALLANTI (IT)
Francisca INSULZA (CL)