Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Place au changement in Saint-Étienne, France by Collectif Etc
November 5th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Collectif Etc
After winning a competition commissioned by the Public Urban Planning Agency of Saint-Etienne (France), the Collectif Etc designed a public square of 670 sq. m. and built it with the inhabitants in a participative process in July 2011.
At the intersection of two streets, the site was formerly a wasteland. Answering the on-going urban changes in the neighborhood, the project simulates a first step of the process in which a building is designed and built. The idea is to represent the plan of imaginary housings on the ground and their section on the wall. That way, people can imagine living in the future buildings and get an idea of the impact of the real one that sould be built in a couple of years.
For a whole month, three types of workshops have been set up and were fully open to anyone, every day from 9 am to 8 pm:
– A carpentry workshop to build all the urban furniture;
– A graphic design workshop to give life to the imaginary housings and to the surroundings;
– A landscape and gardening workshop to establish the green space and shared garden in the middle of the site.
The construction site was open to the public and people could exchange and learn from each other. The Collectif Etc provided everyone with tools, safety gears and advice. Local associations, artists and musicians were invited to organize various activities such as wall paintings, concerts, circus workshops, open air movies, sports tournaments, tango lessons, special meals, debates… An online blog got set up and showcased the everyday life of the construction site : http://www.placeauchangement.fr
The works are now over. A water tank is available and local people had the initiative to keep taking care of the garden themselves and organize regular events. The furniture is not damaged, the place is well maintained and the inhabitants decided to name it “Place of the Giant” after the large painting made by artists Ella&Pitr. It is now an important element in the neighborhood, a place that neighbors identify to.
Collectif Etc is an association composed of young architects, urban-planners and graphic designers who collaborate with landscape designers, artists and social workers. We believe in the creative capacity of citizens and provide them with tools to get involved in their urban environment. Through public workshops, debates, cultural events and especially through construction processes we make sure that the inhabitants have a voice in how their neighborhood will evolve.
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Category: Urban Design