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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
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.

TGV (HIGH-SPEED TRAIN) TRAIN STATION BELFORT/MEROUX/MONTBELIARD/FRANCE by Territoires, Landscape designers

 
November 17th, 2012 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: Territoires, Landscape designers

SUSTAINABLE STRATEGY

  • HQE certification was a requirement for the travelers building: landscape planning had to be in compliance with said HQE Certification referential. Important concerns were rainwater management, soils management, energy savings, origins of construction materials…
  • The conception and planning of the project had to be balanced enough in order to minimize the topographic impact (i.e. a special attention was given to soils importations/exportations…)

Image Courtesy © Nicolas Waltefaugle and Territoires

  • Architects: Territoires, Landscape designers
  • Project: TGV (HIGH-SPEED TRAIN) TRAIN STATION BELFORT/MEROUX/MONTBELIARD/FRANCE
  • Location: Meroux, France
  • Client: sncf
  • Project year: 2004-2011
  • Project area: 51 000 sqm
  • Budget: 12,8 m euros
  • Team: DAAB, AREP, D’Ascia (architect), Territoires (landscape planning), RFR (structure), Le point lumineux (light).
  • Photo Copyright: Nicolas Waltefaugle and Territoires

Image Courtesy © Nicolas Waltefaugle and Territoires

  • Canadian dwells and geothermic sensors were already placed underground the dedicated parking space, and very close to the main building. Landscape planning needed to adapt to this major architectural constraint.
  • Rainwater management: the project had to slow down the rainwater draining, organize the phyto epuration system, stock and filtrate onsite clean water, make sure that the water flow sent back into nature would be regular and slow enough. Our design choices turned that constraint into a real extra performance on this concern: our rainwater management is three times the average.

Image Courtesy © Nicolas Waltefaugle and Territoires

  • Parking space lightning is performed by leds-only. This does not only save energy and costs, this also, in terms of global design, adapts naturally to a rural/countryside situation (precise, adjusted and with low intensity). This is the first leds-only lightning parking of this size in France.
  • All chosen tree species have local origins
  • All chosen mineral materials have local origins

Image Courtesy © Nicolas Waltefaugle and Territoires

LANDSCAPE PLANNING PRINCIPLES

Directing lines of the project are given by the location’s original topography (i.e. the dominant South-North slope and the thalweg (the thalweg is a line drawn to join the lowest points along the entire length of a stream bed or valley in its downward slope, defining its deepest channel. The thalweg thus marks the natural direction, or profile, of a watercourse).

Image Courtesy © Nicolas Waltefaugle and Territoires

The landscape design is also defined by the main and noticeable views and panoramas of the site (at North, the Hill of the Orchid (la Butte aux Orchidées in French), and in the distance the mountains of the Vosges, which are one of France’s most important mountain range. Finally, the way the parking area is divided is an interpretation of the land’s contour lines.  Said lines being enhanced by our vegetal “gutters” dug into the ground for rainwater management.

Image Courtesy © Nicolas Waltefaugle and Territoires

A specific attention was given to harmonious preservation and framing of natural views/panoramas. The beautiful blue line of the Vosges mountains was something we absolutely cared to protect.

Image Courtesy © Nicolas Waltefaugle and Territoires

In order to be fully integrated in the valley, the project had to aim for this main goal : protect, reveal, energize and amplify the location’s natural and so typical beauty and rare assets.

Image Courtesy © Nicolas Waltefaugle and Territoires

Our will was to both structure a clever parking organization and to minimize  the construction impact. Protecting the natural panoramas and views and use them to design a true visual project was essential. We also had to make sure that the pedestrians/users walking from the parking to the main building would live a privileged moment of landcape observation, across the many beautiful views, stagings and the trees/flora.

Image Courtesy © Nicolas Waltefaugle and Territoires

Framing the landscape

The Belfort-Montbéliard TGV train station (Belfort and Montbeliard are two different cities that now share the same station midway cose to the town of Meroux), in our vision, needed a transcending landscape expression. Our work was to reinterprate a remarkable natural location into a spot with a practical use. In other words, we wanted to demonstrate for the well being and surprise of the traveler the kind of experiment only a natural heritage can offer.

Image Courtesy © Nicolas Waltefaugle and Territoires

With the help of some landscape design artefacts, such as markings, signs, or plantatings, we did focus the attention and guide the eyes of the parking users. Some of our paths become viewfinders and lead to precise directions (mountains, valley, water…)

The trees and plants we chose for our « gutters » (pits for rainwaters) act as staging devices.

Image Courtesy © Nicolas Waltefaugle and Territoires

A few key-concepts:

  • The whole space is seen as a larger element of networked activities and urbanization, between Belfort and Montbeliard cities.
  • The parking and the train station do not invade nor “land” into the forest. Rather, it is the forest that extends on the location of the parking/train station. Both universes are open to each other. First and foremost, our project is a dialogue with the surrounding nature. The project respects essential concerns and aspects of this place’s reality.

Image Courtesy © Nicolas Waltefaugle and Territoires

  • A clever use of typography allows us to hide and camouflage the visual impact or parked vehicles.
  • We did not use traditionnal materials for the road and parkings, instead we chose coating materials and fully integrated soils with local origins.
  • Open spaces are planted at their maximum potential, not shaped as man-made lines of trees, but instead, looking more like a mass of vegetation (closer to a forest natural look)
  • Our thalweg is definitively the garden/park of the station, pushing the concept further than a simple parking lot.

Image Courtesy © Nicolas Waltefaugle and Territoires

Image Courtesy © Nicolas Waltefaugle and Territoires

Image Courtesy © Nicolas Waltefaugle and Territoires

Image Courtesy © Nicolas Waltefaugle and Territoires

Image Courtesy © Nicolas Waltefaugle and Territoires

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Category: Train Station

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