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timing: 2017

Location: Bègles - Bordeaux, FR

Architecture: William Riche & Sarah Poot

Landscape: Clap

Client: Europan-Europe

Status: Competition completed - shortlisted 

Bègles is a strategic vision for a productive city gate in Bordeaux, Bègles.


The ongoing debate on the way we live & work, and the place for industry in the city is fully undertaken.  In order to generate more space in the city for an urban economy, or provide attractive living conditions in a productive area,

we need to combine better, to densify in a smart way and start layering more efficiently. This calls for new spatial models.



The existing paper factory is turning the water from the Garonne cleaner than it was in the fist place.

This is a great opportunity to use this clean water to water the area, to use it for educational, productive and recreational purposes.



The new water network makes it possible to also have naturally irrigated urban landscapes. With a strong belief in productivity in the city this project calls for a synergy between a green network, producing vegetables, these vegetables could be the actual ingredients for a cooking school right on the site. Combined with a covered market to provide fresh local food for the area.



The Garonne is a great absorber of big logistic flows. Goods and packages could arrive here on the fringe of the cities. The "diffuseur" would transform the big bulks into smaller delivery packages. So the city center is not packed with big trucks but rather with cargo bikes and electric vans. The platform used as a turning point for trucks and ferries can be used as a recreational platform on weekends or holidays. 

Bègles aims at anchoring its industrial identity as an essential component of the metropolitan city of Bordeaux, in order to guarantee the sustainability of the productive activity at the fringe of the city. La Machinerie de Bègles initiates a new economical model which differs from the resource-consuming industrial patterns. Going beyond the circular economy, it identifies three main local actors - the Paper Factory, Coliposte and the City of Bègles - that, together (with other local actors,) could initiates and implements several networks of collaborative economies that are closely intertwined and endlessly ramified. What if they become essential wheels in a broader mechanism that could also produce urbanity and society? What if each of those loops was turned into educational and professional opportunities, could support culture and leisure and anchor Bègle’s identity in the metropolitan landscape?


La Machinerie de Bègles, at the crossroads of the Garonne and the Green Delta of Bordeaux, links the existing industry with natural resources. Together, they generate a productive landscape that is activated by several Machines. They amplify and support the programmatic transition of industrial activities towards a more integrated productive model.

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