Fontainebleau, France


Fontainebleau, France

© 2023, Herzog & de Meuron
© 2023, Herzog & de Meuron
© 2023, Herzog & de Meuron
© 2023, Herzog & de Meuron

The INSEAD campus (European Institute of Business Administration[CS1] ) is located on the edges of the Fontainebleau Forest. It was built in 1969 on what was once forest land. The original coherence of the campus’s spatial organization, as well as its strong connection with the forest, have been lost over time.

Our project, in partnership with the HdM architecture firm, aims to create a park—a vast landscape in which it’s reasonable to wonder if the campus buildings appeared and wove themselves into the space only later. Filled with indigenous plants, the park is a miniaturization: the surrounding forest scaled to the size of the campus.

New layers of smaller, closely-planted trees (birch, oak, etc.) complement the ancient oaks and iconic pines. Our ambitious renaturalization creates a new wild and wooded landscape, complete with a dense undergrowth of shrubbery (European hornbeam, dog rose, etc.) and plants (ferns, anemones, grasses, etc.) chosen in harmony with the exposure of each area.

Eight landscaped nooks are sprinkled throughout the park, nestled among these rewilded spaces. Framed with European hornbeam hedges, these garden rooms offer students privacy and comfort. Along with the outdoor furniture found around the grounds, they add new spots for repose.

Boundless, winding paths of poured concrete and sandstone aggregate meander through the dense vegetation like forest trails.

Transforming the existing lawns into thick swaths of undergrowth restores the properties of the sandy soil, improves biodiversity, and reduces the need for upkeep. Damaged and sick trees are cut down and used as mulch.

A formal clearing, open but for existing iconic pines, emerges at the heart of this dense, wooded landscape. Equidistant from the campus’s main buildings and in line with the axis drawn between the MBA and Forest Buildings, this central meadow is the meeting point of architecture and landscape. It is a vast plain measuring approximately 30 x 45 m, in contrast with the rest of our project. Flat, open, and equipped with portable outdoor furniture, the meadow is ideal for outdoor events and daily student life alike.

The Piazza, the main campus entrance, is paved with Fontainebleau sandstone. Tall pines are planted at irregular intervals around this large space.

Parks, Gardens, Equipments

Campus de l'INSEAD

Project Team:

MDP Michel Desvigne paysagiste

HdM Herzog & de Meuron