The project located in the “Ville Nouvelle” of Cergy-Pointoise sits on the plateau of “Le Puiseau”, which dominates the Oise river valley. It is generated from the highest point of the site, the intersection of the main axis of the new neighbourhood, and a linear layout of parks, hanging gardens and terraces over the river. A sculpture by Dani Karavan marks the scheme’s central space.
The project, consisting mainly of housing and some shops, is composed of two distinctly morphological parts: a six-storey crescent-building to the south, oriented towards the valley, and two buildings framing two symmetrical square plazas to the north, which are connected by a cross-shaped plaza.
RBTA designed a new garden-city, opposed to the vernacular and crafted single family housing developed at the beginning of the XX century.
The project is structured by a complex geometric system based on the square and centered at point zero. Departing from a classical scheme, the project is composed of strongly related and articulated buildings, with rigorously designed volumes to created perfectly defined interior spaces.
The design makes reference to the English Architecture of squares and gardens, of very horizontal proportions, like the famous Circus and Royal Crescent by John Nash in Bath.
At the edge of the plateau, in front of the valley, the façade of the crescent is treated like a grand city wall, punctuated by solid towers. The windows and balconies of the apartment blocks overlook the natural landscape. The façade serves as the end of the perspective created by the axis of the gardens and terraces rising from the river.
The green lawns of the park penetrate the interior squares to emphasize the residential character of the scheme. Surrounding this green amphitheatre, the wide exposed concrete colonnade of serene proportions further reinforces the unifying horizontal composition, yet avoiding the monumental scale and dimensions. Treated like green courtyards, the two interior squares are framed by doubly ordered façades.
The transition between open and built space was carefully studied, generating new solutions for accesses and residential units. The specially studied spatial sequence from the interior plaza to the apartment generates a theater-shape public space. The transparent treatment of the transversal axis clearly reveals the double exposure of the apartment units. This axis opens the foyer to the interior plaza by means of large windows framed by columns, and ends above with balconies over the terraced gardens opening to the landscape.