The theme of the waterfront city, whether to design, or to requalify, or to develop, it is always exciting. It is an opportunity to rethink the entire urban structure and its relations with the most important element of the landscape: the water that surrounds it. Noumea, former Port of France chosen because of its favorable conditions and the quality of its landscape, has an opportunity to reflect on its center and its relationship with the sea. All the cities, especially those facing the sea must now cope with climate change and water plays a special role.
Today, the waterfront area is the first image that the city offers to those who come by boat, it is much more than a façade: it is an asset and an opportunity. Its richness is found in the form, in the size and in the variety of situations: the figure of the waterfront is drawn by different and unique facades. This project is an opportunity to show the many and varied urban forms: the dense city, the seaside city, the industrial city, the military town, the city in which different cultures of the two hemispheres crosses.
The landscape is the great unifying factor connecting all these differences.
Noumea shows the signs of its history, it is ancient and modern at the same time. Land of conquest in the 19th century, manipulated by the French military with the help of Convicts, by the nickel industry and by the Americans, Noumea seems easily molded in the hands of history. However, today the city offers poor urban quality, it space is that of a fairly generic periphery and the city center is increasingly stigmatized. It is for this reason that Noumea has to change again to meet contemporary needs, new ambitions.
Studio offers four concepts and strategies to meet these challenges:
-a grid as structure of the open space in the downtown area.
-the return of the water in the heart of the city
-a series of multifunctional places that irrigate the city, and
-finally a new form for the city, a city which bears the territorial level, the large park that surrounds it, at a new urban scale.
Building a strategy is the most delicate part of a city project. Indeed a strategy dictates the choice, saying what is priority and what is not, why to choose some places and not others. What matters, in our opinion is to share not only a vision, but also to imagine that in a condition of incremental construction, realization by stages in the short and long term, the new face of city has to be guided by elements of structure, able to guide that transformation.