Rennes, France


Rennes, France


Together, the Palais du Commerce and the Place de la République form a major architectural ensemble in Rennes. Their location, combined with the public transport services they have access to, have made them a point of reference and convergence in the city, constantly crisscrossed by considerable flows of traffic.

The project's goal entails nothing less than the reinvention of this geographical, economic, administrative, and symbolic heart of the city. The ambitious architectural and landscape redevelopment program seeks to complement the wide variety of uses the palace and the public spaces in its adjacent environs (Place Joffre and rue du Pré Botte) are tasked with, from the commercial to the cultural to hotel services.

The landscape is characterized by the simplicity and sobriety of its design, an elementary geometry that has been determined by the architecture. Place Joffre presents itself as one vast paved mineral surface from which large trees emerge. The preexisting pattern of chestnut trees is enlarged upon. On either side of the central forecourt, two recessed gardens introduce elements of the Vilaine river ecosystem into the public space, acting as a discreet reminder of the city's strong identification with the river that traverses it. Atmospheric, small-scale pathways guide the flow of pedestrians towards the metro, providing them with more intimate pockets of nature, essential within the fast-faced urban context.

These intermediary gardens thus work in blending together the openness of a public square with the intimacy and charm of a garden. They are designed in an alternating sequence of mineral surfaces and densely planted bands, and with a wide range of textures and colors. The arrangement of successive plant curtains allows for smooth transitions from the heavily trafficked corridors to areas of calm. Lastly, the gardens are framed by two shallow pools, which in an abstract and contemporary way evoke the old harbor basin that once used to extend the waterway all the way up to the Palais du Commerce. 

Urban strategies, Public spaces

La Poste Immo
Ville de Rennes
Rennes métropole

Project Team:

MDP Michel Desvigne Paysagiste
Compagnie de Phalsbourg 
Perrot Richard, architects


1,2 ha