The redevelopment of the historical entrance into Tours widens the axis road that deliberately structures the city from north to south (Rue Nationale and Wilson Bridge). Its goal is to build upon and strengthen the architectural undertaking initiated by the modernists Patout and the Dorian brothers Charles and Jean, creating a new spatial attachment and monumental threshold onto the wider space of the Loire valley.
Passing large modernist buildings, the avenue Nationale axis road expands into a broad mineral square facing the Loire river. The square maintains its original symmetrical layout as it extends up to the upper quay's promenade, before continuing by way of a wide walkway of steps to the lower quays. The openness of the space, formed as a sort of balcony over the river, brings into relief the empty space, as well as the frontal relationship the city has with its river and the riverbank opposite.
Block plantings create a series of spaces on an intermediate level, which provide precious intimacy within the urban and riverside monumental context. The distribution of a series of gardens, placed at the feet of the remarkable buildings making up the urban blocks, before continuing into the extra width of the lower quays, establish a new sense of planted continuity. They also function in better facilitating the interweaving of the city's two main structuring elements, the avenue and the river, one manmade, the other natural.
Along the lower pedestrianized quays, the gardens mesh perfectly into the riparian landscape, seeming to enlarge the facing riverbed at regular intervals. As the quays' complex topography is simplified, with its surfacing rethought, a more readable space emerges, with a single promenade. The riparian landscape is highlighted through the selection of trees and the flowering of their crowns. Remarkable views are created onto the Loire.
City of Tours
MDP Michel Desvigne Paysagiste (lead consultant)
IHA Inessa Hansch Architecte, urbanist
Moreau Boktor, architects