Le Havre waterfront model – Fabio Porcu & Dimitri Vroonen: MA Landscape + Urbanism
This year the School of Architecture + Landscape, Kingston University concludes its school wide research project started in 2012 looking at sites governed by UNESCO World Heritage. Projects range in scale from landscapes to buildings and interiors and consider the implications relating to listing for the past, present and future of each site. Our 3 postgraduate Landscape courses have focused on the city of Le Havre in north-west France building on the experience of the academic year 2013-14 cohorts’ work. Le Havre – now France’s largest container port – was founded in the 16th century on the drained saltmarsh and mudflats of the English Channel and estuary of the Seine. The chalk bedrock is expressed as a 110m cliff separating the upper town from the lower city and port. In 1944 much of this lower city was destroyed by World War II allied bombing, and rebuilt between 1945 and 1964 by Atelier Auguste Perret. In 2005, the rebuilt city was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status, as ‘an outstanding post-war example of urban planning and architecture based on the the use of prefabrication, the systematic utilization of a modular grid, and the innovative exploitation of the potential of concrete‘.
The postgraduate Landscape and Urbanism studio, here at Kingston University, is exploring ecological, social and cultural potentials of Le Havre. Our work is informed and inspired by dialogue with colleagues, in particular those of the Agence d’’Urbanisme Region du Havre et de l’Estuaire de la Seine and the Port of Le Havre, and reflects AURH priorities; maximising the value of Le Havre’s natural and knowledge capital, and ‘landscape urbanism’ potentials.
Projects seek to extend the reach and capacities of the remnant ancient forest of Montgeon + the recalibration of drainage to help protect the lower town from flooding; a fresh engagement with the sea; renewable energies, food networks, provenance of local soil and water; for the immediate future and for long term resilience. Propositions include a new outlook and arrival experience and reimagining of programmes for La Citadelle, the Quai de Southampton, the Seine valley, and a thread of routes.
Dimitri Vroonen, Fish Market Undercroft
With special thanks to: Boris Menguy, Thierry Lochard (AURH), Olivier Forget (Port of Le Havre ) and to Simon Green (ARUP), Vladimir Guculak, Nina Kolbeck and Helena Rivera