A third of the developed surface area of L'Île-Saint-Denis is occupied by warehouses, many of which are no longer in use. This site covers 22 of the island’s 100 hectares.
Philippon-Kalt, architects and urban planners, led a team to propose reconverting this site into a riverside eco-district, and have been responsible for bringing their plans to fruition.
This area, which is currently under development and located less than 2km from Paris’s Saint-Denis station, is set to benefit from the “Grand Paris” initiative.
An in-depth reflection on water and biodiversity, energy, mobility and pollution was conducted in collaboration with specialist firms to ensure that the eco-district remains an example to follow over time.
In 2009, the project, led by Michel Bourgain, Mayor of Île-Saint-Denis, and by the authorities of the larger Plaine Commune area, was chosen as the prototype district at the NQU consultation (label Nouveaux Quartiers Urbains – New Urban Districts), and it received the Prize of the Future, National List of Eco-Districts 2011.
On 17 February 2013, the riverside eco-district charter was signed by all of the project’s partners.
The riverside eco-district: a living space for everyone, planned and developed to promote social relationships, and to encourage sharing and saving resources.
The concepts developed for this new district are based on the three main issues of L'Île-Saint-Denis:
By creating north-south connections between the two residential districts on L'Île-Saint Denis.
By improving communications with neighbouring communes and involving the new district in the local development processes.
By respecting the principle of setting a good example in environmental matters and promoting water as a factor of identity for residents.
Development: participatory governance
A shared culture is created in collaboration with all of the project’s stakeholders. The Eco-District Charter, a document to ensure the commitment of the various partners, uses the same concepts as presented by the planners.
Throughout the project, an active debate is being maintained, by means of consultation meetings with residents: which services should be available in the mobility centres, plans for public spaces, rooms for communal use, etc.
Urban, environmental and social cohesion
The needs of all the entities involved are considered: VNF and Port autonome, RATP and STIF, ERDF, ANDRA, CG 93, the département, the city, the technical services of Plaine Commune local authorities, specialised design firms, etc. Preference is given to concepts that can be replicated in other areas.
Ambitions that are sustainable into the future
The specifications drawn up for the riverside eco-district consider the future of the district over time by including room for growth in line with changes in standards and technology, and with the development of the area.
The project is divided into four main interconnected blocks, planned according to their surroundings.
Schooling hub, to the north
to create links with the city centre
Commercial hub, to the south
continuing on from the shops in the Marques Avenue outlet centre
Free time hub, in the intermediary zone bringing the whole town together, with a 10,000m² garden and a gym
Artistic, leisure and artistic hub, in the centre with water-based and cultural activities in connection with the Cité du Cinéma and the developing Pleyel district.
Breaking up the flow (Entre Deux Rives, Marques Avenue, Printemps, intermediary zone and Galeries Lafayette) reduces the distances, makes it easier to get one’s bearings and offers a varied and attractive view of the site.
The varied building heights (with light yellow above and burgundy below) mark out these blocks, with certain points standing out in the impressive riverside landscape, like lighthouses, to mark a particular place: the footbridge connecting to Saint Denis, the shoreline of the shorter bank…
The building structures also highlight the differences between the banks alongside the two branches of the Seine: undeveloped with intimist-style ambience on the shorter west shore, with 3-5-storey buildings, and a more ordered alignment of 7-storey buildings on the longer east shore.
The idea is to create a connection between the current residents of L'Île Saint Denis and new arrivals through diversity and intermingling of housing schemes in a single building: housing cooperatives, social and private ownership, social renting.
According to the plan, different schemes are to overlap, so that there is always movement and life throughout the day. The close proximity between living, working and leisure spaces creates a lively district.
1,000 housing units for 1,000 jobs preferably in the culture sector in connection with the creation cluster, the sport and entertainment sectors in connection with the Seine, or the sustainable development sector in connection with the environmental goals of this new district.
Water, a significant part of the district’s identity, is shown off by landscaping which contributes to the comfort and quality of life of residents.
An educational trail on the theme of water illustrates the alternative, landscape-focused and recreational approach to using the resource
Recovery and reuse of rainwater to save on tap water.
Management of run-off water through landscaping to prevent discharge into drains.
Alternative management of waste water for experimental schemes such as floating housing.
Development of biotopes in ponds to reduce pollution.
Natural bathing space within the pioneering sustainable development, supplied by water from the Seine which is filtered by plants.
A protected ecosystem
The whole district overlooks the Seine. On the developed land, the riverbanks have been cleared, encouraging the development of riparian forest.
Viewpoints, riverside paths, floating jetties and attractive shorelines line the pathways which connect the various zones on the island and bring life to the riverbank.
Accessibility and car-free district
This choice is influenced by the desire to create a busy and lively district and encourage soft transport methods.
Within the long, narrow eco-district (150 m x 1500 m), vehicle access is limited to emergency services and specific needs.
Communication and transport points are placed every 300m on Quai du Chatelier, providing excellent links to the site. They act as coordination hubs for the eco-district, and incorporate the following services, on a ground floor level: delivery points, lockers, pigeonholes, bicycle spaces, carsharing meeting point, walking bus… There are also plenty of shared parking spaces available. Buildings are constructed upwards to help reduce the risks of flooding and impacted ground.
Soft transport modes preferred
In addition to the district’s internal soft transport network, a cycling path is planned for the longer shore.
Intermodal transport connections within the site
The planned bus and bicycle bridges will in the future offer direct access to the multimodal Arc Express hub on the Saint-Denis / Pleyel site.
Revitalising river transport
The idea of an inter-commune La Défense / Saint-Denis river shuttle is being examined.
Placing jetties on the shorter shore will encourage the development of shuttles on the Seine.
Transforming the site’s problems (electromagnetic, acoustic, atmospheric, pollution, risk of flooding) into positives
A space bordered by high voltage electricity lines is transformed into a humid nature reserve, ensuring biotic continuity between the two banks.
The most polluted spots are neutralised using watertight basins which are home to fauna and flora from humid environments
Creation of acoustic protection on the A86 viaduct using photovoltaic panels
The Ponkawall, an urban design proposed by Philippon-Kalt for the eco-district, acts as a noise reduction wall, produces renewable energy and, via its QR code, creates an interface for local interactive communication between all the district’s stakeholders. It is an idea that could be replicated on other sites throughout the country.
The ambitious energy specifications can be modified to cope with changes in energy regulations (phase 2: 80% Passive / 20% energy-plus-buildings).
The energy consumption/production is calculated on an overall basis, based on renewable energy produced by the whole eco-district and not by the building as the labels require.
The political choice of a district heating network is intended to be used to extend to older buildings in the city centre an environmentally-friendly network including 60% REn using local geothermal pumping.
Experimental systems are planned for smaller buildings.
The modern-day “gleaners”, or urban foragers, illustrate Bellastock’s work in the building of the eco-district: experiments on reusing in situ, presence at demolition of the Printemps warehouses, and making its laboratory Actlab available to artists, architects, landscapers and designers.
2016 – 2017
Delivery of first part of Printemps site
2012 and 2014
Delivery of “Entre Deux Rives”, 1st step of the riverside eco-district
Signature of the Riverside Eco-District charter by all the project’s stakeholders
2012 – 2022
Building of two-site commercial development zone
Creation of two-site commercial development zone – Printemps and Galeries Lafayette site (13 ha)
2007 - 2008
Printemps site (6 ha) - Contest
ING Brémond Group laureate
Site of L'Île-Saint-Denis warehouses (22 ha)
Structured study, concepts and guidelines for riverside eco-district