Les Pantinoises

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At the gateway of the city of Pantin, the new district of “Les Pantinoises” led by Semip (city’s public planning authority), is awakening and gradually welcomes its new inhabitants since last summer.

Coordinated by CoBe, 30.000m² of housing with shops and business premises are coming to settle in this new district. Designed by architects Franklin Azzi, Baumschlager Eberle, WOA, Lavergne, NRAU, and real estate developers Emerige, Cogedim, Woodeum and Edelis, they are united by generous public spaces designed by CoBe urban planners and landscape architects.

Genesis of a new district

Initiated in 2016, the urban planning project competition organized by SEMIP for Les Pantinoises questioned the creation of a new district taking place on former sports fields located at the northern gateway of Pantin, on the edge of the neighboring city of La Courneuve, between the emblematic social district “Les Courtilières” and a very eclectic urban fabric oscillating between residential areas, suburban buildings, sports fields, and a busy national road. At the end of this competition, CoBe has been awarded the mission of urban planner and architectural coordinator of the new district, then that of designer of public spaces.

After a design phase made of numerous workshops with all the architects and other stakeholders, the project took place in two phases from 2019 to 2022: a first earthworks and networks phase, then a building phase.

A Diagonal

How to create a dense urban planning project that can enhance the heterogeneity of the surrounding urban fabric and succeed in bringing in new inhabitants by creating an attractive and radiant place? This project involves designing a new model whose urban quality, in connection with its environment, unites the neighborhood by permitting everyone to benefit from existing assets (equipment, schools, university, new metro station).

To respond to this question, they chose to design a new district with its own identity whose shape stands out from the surrounding ensembles: a large open block crossed along its entire length by a “diagonal”. This mainly pedestrian axis imposes a single one-way route for the use of the car within the new district, thus minimizing its impact in the area. It also makes it possible to connect the different alleys and to serve the blocks directly through their heart.

Density on a human scale

The district is made of blocks on a human scale, to be able to work on buildings typologies which permit to design a maximum of quality housing. In order to fit as well as possible into the existing urban fabric, the paneling of the buildings is limited to 3 stories with an attic on the Edouard Renard Street located north of the district thus making the transition with the alignment of neighboring houses. The great heights buildings (up to 7 floors) open on the south side of the sports fields, thus offering a maximum of wide views.

This reasonable scale of blocks also offers the possibility of freeing up spaces to create alleys and a park in the center of the district. The huge number of gardens directly benefiting the ground floor apartments also echoes the quality of the gardens of the neighboring suburban houses.

A family resemblance

During the various workshops organized by CoBe with the design teams, a «family resemblance» was gradually born between the buildings of the district: long balconies, noble mineral materials, wood, and soft and luminous colors on the facades are the common characteristics connecting different buildings and responding to the shades of granite composing the public spaces of the district.

For the housing, the care taken in the views and the diversity of situations avoids any predictable symmetries and intrusive “vis-à-vis”; the density of the project discouraged from using any repetitive architecture.

An adapted landscape language

The urban language of Les Pantinoises project is partly based on the creation of large landscaped spaces combined with the variety of volumes, shapes, and heights of the buildings, thus being part of a global reflection process on public space. The sobriety of the materials and the matching plant palette implemented on the public spaces, match the resemblance of the buildings. The leveling of the project has been studied so that rainwater flows and infiltrates naturally into the planted areas.

Two squares have been created at the borders of the sector to create pedestrian hooks at the ends of the diagonal axis of the project. The first located to the west of the district ensures a smooth transition between this new place of life and the national road. The presence of groves in the center of this square creates a major entry point to the district and cuts this space into meeting and rest places. The second square located at the east corner is more intimate and ensures the link between the new district and the Courtillières district.
Planted with remarkable trees, the two squares are notably differentiated from the road thanks to a light-colored natural stone layout reminding the colors of the facades. The central square, secured by a custom-made high fence designed by CoBe, offers a large tree-filled lawn and provides play structures for the children, thus daily enlivening the heart of the district.

Custom-made public spaces

The diagonal created to open the district to the city from West to East imposes a one-way street for the cars and thus reserves a maximum of space for pedestrians. It is accessible by car from Edouard Renard Street to the north and benefits from a large ditch planted on both sides of the road, consisting of successive groves with roadside trees and some high-rise trees, and ensures landscape continuity between the two squares East and West.

Crenellated granite curbs 20cm high materialize the boundary between the national road, the sidewalks, the car park areas and the planted strips. This system of curbs allows water to be evacuated to the ditches and planting spaces bordering the roads.

The North Edouard Renard street, which connects with the neighbouring suburban district, has been redeveloped to widen its sidewalk and accommodate a wide strip planted with roadside trees protecting pedestrian flows from car flows, and both lanes occasionally accommodate parking spaces on one side of the road. Moreover, the shrub plantations at the foot of the facades guarantee the privacy of the ground floor housing.
As for street furniture, the squares and the park offer many concrete seats and benches with wooden backrests. Night lighting is provided by low-rise lampposts in the streets, and by higher ones in the squares. Those have an innovative manual control system, specially designed for this project, which permits to lower or increase the level of illuminance. In order to respect the urban continuity, all these elements are largely inspired by the street furniture of the neighboring district of the Courtillières.

Project details

Design: CoBe
Project Location: Pantin, France
Typology: Urban design, urban planning
Built: 2022
Area: 2 ha (30.000 m2 of housing)
Cost: 2.400.000 €
Architecture: Franklin Azzi, Baumschlager Eberle, WOA, Lavergne, NRAU
Client: SEMIP
Photo credits: © Patrick H. Müller

CoBe

CoBe

CoBe combines architecture, urban planning, landscaping, construction management and design, integrates in the creations, draws the ability to correct ruptures, to look to the future through its cross skills with benevolence and confidence. CoBe creates links: designing the city is about freeing up space, optimizing its use, recycling, and reusing. They aim to insert this vision in each project, from the first ideas and sketches. Their vision thinks the link, envisions the landscape in the landscape, the city in the city. Designing and thinking spaces means to observe and understand the dynamics in order to erase the splits. It is about the vitality, the sustainability of the links between territories and between users.