This project received Special Mention in LILA 2020 Residential category

The jury recognized the approach of embracing time to make a comfortable living space. The project successfully combines soil reactivation, food production, water management and recycling of the material found on site. This simplistic, smart and visually interesting landscape reaches beyond what is expected of a residential area.

See all LILA recognitions or visit LILA website

Emma Blanc: Square Maïmat, located in Muret – a French city near Toulouse – was designed based on the model of the “Grands Ensembles” favoured in the 1960s. On the 2.5 hectare surface, the ground, completely covered in tarmac, was the domain of surface car parks and permanent traffic flows. Like large ribbons, the buildings were placed around the outside of the site, enclosing it in on itself. At the heart of the complex, a shopping centre had been progressively abandoned.

This urban model is in crisis; it is in need of radical renewal, in order to initiate the reintegration of the northern district of Muret into an urban continuity, that extends across the whole city. Committed to revitalizing the district, an urban renewal project was initiated by Promologis in close collaboration with the town of Muret and the project management team.

Formerly focused in on itself and totally impermeable, the site is now open and porous. The construction process was consisting of demolition / reconstruction to rehouse the local residents in situ. With an environmental and economical approach, the site materials were reused because it also makes sense to preserve the past history and capitalize on the potential of what is “already there”!

An underground parking constructed beneath the public square provided part of the required car parking. Other parking places were distributed around the site’s periphery, liberating the centre of the city block for pedestrians and other means of non-vehicular transport. The important question of “residentialisation” and more generally the relationship to the ground was considered and lead to a spatial architectural and landscape solution: wooded islets and common courtyards.

The ground floor is freed up from housing and forms a space which provides an interface between the public space and the building’s lobby. Functional and easily appropriated, these public courtyards provide a link, and offer a pleasant environment to encounter one’s neighbours. Square Maïmat is articulated around a large wooded area, within which eight residential blocks are located. A public square to the south accommodates an open air market and a row of shops located at the foot of the shared ownership building. The project positively transformed the neighbourhood and the quality of life for the residents.

Urban intentions

Around the inhabited plots, wooded islets promote the identity of the new neighbourhood, which is perceived as a landscaped public park. A footpath and cycleway reconstitutes the link between the old centre and the north of Muret. A new road allows crossing and rationally reorganizes local traffic flows towards the exterior of the neighbourhood.

Ground work

The landscape project firstly concerns the soil. Sterile since the 60s, we endeavoured to make the soil fertile again by carrying out precise and technical work to a depth of one meter. In association with engineers specialising in pedology we reconstituted the soil horizons using materials from the site and locally produced, agricultural and organic compost and fertilizer.

Wooded islets

Inspired by forestry techniques, the wooded areas are planted on the reconstituted soils. They are composed of frugal essences on a grid of one meter by one meter, and are inexpensive with regards to investment, water and maintenance. In order to convince all the project team of the virtues of these wooded elements, two control zones of 100 m2 (soil + forest seedlings) were installed on site from the start of the construction process. The wooded islets form dense plantings; a sort of “green residentialisation” at the foot of the plots. Their management or maintenance is undertaken over a long period, and the forest saplings are nurtured for some years using protection systems that promote the re-use of materials from the site.

Water management

At the interface between the parking area and the centre of the plot, large swales are located. These features are both spacious (3m wide and 0.7m deep) and technical, they can manage all the water from the plot (including runoff from the car parks, rainwater from the roof, water from the square …

Favouring biodiversity

MORE THAN 5000 TREES AND SHRUBS were planted for the project.
TREE CLUMPS / WOODED ISLETS / INDIVIDUAL SPECIMENS 1st size 15 to 20m – 2nd size 10 to 15m – 3rd size 7 to 10m
SHRUBS Sprouting and arching forms, Semi-climbers, Perennial framework, Suckering species

Reuse and materials

Concrete and wood cladding for the buildings was selected and used for their raw appearance and the ease of maintenance.
The exterior works include the recovery of materials from the site :
– Metal railings, logs and felled trees to fence the planted islets.
– Crushed concrete from demolition used to reconstitute the soil horizons.
– Crushed concrete (0/40) from recycling facilities for outdoor spaces excluding main roads.
– 50X50 concrete slabs from the former shopping centre to surface the small courtyards.


Landscape architect: Emma Blanc Paysage

Other designers involved in the design of landscape: ppa architectures
Project location: 11 rue Aimé Césaire 31600 Muret, France
Design year: 2011
Year Built: 2013-2014 (phase 01) – 2018 (phase 02)

MAIMAT SOUTH – phase 01

Program: Urban renewal
Public square of 5000 m2 on basement parking of 73 boxes
Urban park, surface car parks, small courtyards
Wooded urban islets and tree nursery (5000 trees)
Demolition of 173 housing units and a shopping centre Construction
of 148 housing units, with retail space and premises for associations
on the ground floor.
Rehabilitation of 40 dwellings (shared ownership building)

Client: Promologis / Zélidom, Le Muretain agglo, Ville de Muret
Surface area: Land parcel: 25 000m2, Landscape scheme: 21 350m2
Cost: 17,1M€
Certification: Habitat and environment BBC – 13%, Effinergie 2005; Nominated Lauréat for Regional Projects 2010: Energy-efficient environmental performance buildings in Midi-Pyrénées
by the Region and l’ADEME (Agence de l’Environnement et de la
Maîtrise de l’Energie)
Lanscape: Emma Blanc, Project manager : Emmanuelle Blanc, Landscape architect : Sonia Sifflet
Architects: ppa • architectures (lead architects); Partner : Jean-Manuel Puig, Team : Sylvie Bouet, Clémence Durupt
Engineers: Inafa (work site supervison), Albert et compagnie (sustainable development), Cercée (fluids), Axes ing. (services), Alayrac
(economics), Bernadberoy (structure)
Contractors: ETPM (roads and utilities), Mayet (green spaces)

MAIMAT NORTH – phase 02

Program: Plantations and transplantations, surface parking, small courtyards.
Construction of 44 social housing units in a park (20 social housing,
24 in social rental)

Client: Promologis / Zélidom, Le Muretain agglo, Ville de Muret
Surface area: Landscape scheme : 7 300m2
Cost: 3,75M€
Completion: 2018
Landscape: Emma Blanc; Project manager : Emmanuelle Blanc, Landscape architects : Laure Verdier, Noël Pinsard
Architects: ppa • architectures (lead architects), Partner : Jean-Manuel Puig, Team : Laure Alberty, Ana Castro
Engineers: MOA (work site supervison), 3J Technologies (structure), Execo (economics), Ceercé (fluids), MN’S Conseils (services)
Contractors: ETPM (roads and utilities), Mayet (green spaces)
Photography: Philippe Ruault, Airimage (aerial photography and video)

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