Set on the Garonne river banks and landlocked by expressways, the Sept Deniers district is an “island” in the city of Toulouse. Formerly an industrial zone, the area is currently achieving its transformation, in which the “JOB” square is to become the landmark. Known by generations of Toulouse inhabitants as the place of the former factory of high quality “JOB” cigarette paper, the neighbourhood has started its metamorphose since the closure of the factory in 1988. The main building “AMIRAL JOB”, classified industrial heritage of the twentieth century, has been preserved. In 2011, the municipality decided to deeply transform the area, which was more kind of a suburban area into a dynamic living neighbourhood. “AMIRAL JOB” former building has been transformed into an attractive cultural and sports hall, hosting a swimming pool, a concert hall, a music school, underground car park… (PUIG/PUJOL architects). The job was not over yet and some challenges remained: how to boost the local based life for inhabitants, how to respect the identity of the area? As a part of the global reflection of promotion and organisation of the JOB square / Sept Deniers district, the SCE Ateliers UP+ has been appointed to work on the design and realisation of the public spaces (main square, streets and paths). Given the importance of the site history and the local council expectations, SCE Ateliers UP+ team favoured an open dialogue with the local population via participatory workshops to draft the public spaces project.
The underlying planning concept of the project is the multifunctional use of public space: A large opened area of 2,500 m² surrounded by small courts with a vast range of usage and functions (such as the patio, the entrance, garden square,…), that connects to the pedestrian paths network and thus reunites together several unused spaces. With the removal of numerous obstacles (networks / walls / vegetation / fences), the rehabilitation of pavement and the light levelling of the ground, public spaces, even so they are located on both sides of the Blagnac road, can now visually connect/communicate. On the floor, a fine layout work reveals the spaces without complicating them. The choice of sober, functional but yet elegant street furniture and uncluttered furniture lines was carefully thought through. Round the square, street furniture is in harmony with the building and adopts the JOB’s red diamond logo.
The JOB venue being mainly made with bare mineral, the plants were of paramount importance when renovating the area, thus our team put a lot of thoughts when composing the landscape. The choice of plants is designed to highlight the proximity of the Garonne River and thus it looks like the JOB venue is moored on its bank. Perennials and wild grasses provide softness and lightness and lead visitors towards the main entrance. More Celtis australis (hackberry trees) have been planted round the JOB venue and the surroundings thus offering sufficient shaded spots. The pedestrian walkways provide abundant and diversified vegetation like the “Gourmet alleys” that offer a surprising variety of fruit trees and edible plants. A rich diversity of plants stata is used such as espalier fruit trees, berry shrubs, annual and perennial edible plants …. It comes in contrast with the minerality of the JOB square; they create more intimate spots and real island of freshness for the local residents. The heart of the neighbourhood has become a dynamic and multifaceted space: the layout of the square is designed to host all kind of festivities; the weekly market reinforces local economic activity.
By its sobriety, the project offers linked but singular spaces with multiple and diverse uses. It also contributes to the affirmation of the historical past while projecting the neighbourhood into a new urban history.
Landscape architects: les ateliers up+ de SCE
Location: Sept Deniers district – Toulouse – FRANCE
Program: Requalification of JOB neighborhood public spaces
Mission: Public spaces project design and public dialogue
Design year: 2011-2014
Years of construction: 2015- delivery in March 2017
Budget: 2 200 000 €
Place Area: 10 000 m²
MC LUCAT (photography)
Plan sketches, cross section… (les ateliers UP+ de SCE)
Client: Toulouse Métropole (Greater Toulouse)
Urban equipment manufacturers: Tree grate & Trash can: Accenturba, Seating: AREA, low barrier & bike support: Acropose, Fountain: Santa & Cole, Bollards: SERI
Tree nursery: Pépinière Cholat