With a design language speaking to the dynamic and mixed identity of the neighbourhood, this urban park in the Le Croissant quarter of Paris’ La Defense introduces versatile and striking activations to the open space between iconic postmodern housing towers and new infill developments. The concept builds upon a fundamental reorganization of the old urban order, where the scale of the automobile has been replaced with that of the pedestrian—ground levels once only accessible for resident parking now thrive with life.
To encourage and enhance diversity, accessibility, and functionality, the design hosts a collection of eclectic elements that propose innovative ways to use the new public space. Open-ended and approachable urban objects and installations address and resolve a common issue in spatial programming: the accommodation of different actors. Children and parents easily find their place here – but so do teenagers and young adults.
The programme is materialised with distinct elements that are scattered throughout the urban space. Not unlike the evocative approach taken at Superkilen, these objects meet three criteria: they represent a novelty, come from a different context, and multiply their typical uses. Recognisable pieces from different countries provide seating and leisure while at the same time supporting fitness and play. Distinctive white markings on the black asphalt suggest games with flexible rules, inviting participants to use the guides however they want, whether to change the common game regulations or even to make up their own.
Planting follows a concept similar to that of the diverse array of urban objects: trees are selected from all over the world and carefully placed to ensure their adaptation to local conditions. A system of ‘green basins’ are dispersed all over the site, which simplify and improve drainage and infiltration by aggregating surface runoff and filtering it with vegetation as it percolates into the water table below.