The place of trees in Metz in the face of the climate emergency
To plant trees. This is the creed of elected officials and planners to combat urban warming. But in Metz, in the city’s amphitheater centre, it’s not so easy to break the pavement. Can the climate emergency ease measures for heritage conservation? Bâtiments de France architect Christophe Charlieri explains to us what he thinks the place of trees in the city is.
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The city of Metz has committed to planting 3,000 trees annually. However, farms are rare in the city center. How do you control the situation?
Christophe Charlier, architect Bâtiments de France (ABF) : “Compared to many other cities, Metz is a very green city. Within a few metres, you can go from an urban atmosphere to the riverine forest along the Sele River. The city inherits the urban planning movement of the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries similar to the boulevard movement “The Grand Parisian Haussmannian, where the cities were aerated and plane trees were planted. In Metz, the Germans developed a garden city. Even in the center of the city, we have wonderful trees, for example the Square Boufflers, behind the stadium.”
With global warming, city dwellers will need paths in the shade. Will we be able to farm on metal squares?
There are historical places that are not suitable for this. Place d’Armes was designed by Jacques-François Blondel as an urban square with classical French architecture. The regulations associated with the protected sector do not allow us to farm here. But the alternative of large pots and plantings that change with the seasons fits well into the spirit of the 18th century, and is very designed and very structured.
Place de la Comédie (where the previous ABF allowed the planting of a single plane tree, symmetrical in relation to the street with the Jardin des Amours, editor’s note), the real interest in its creation was to gain perspective and embrace it without visual obstruction. This square, the first urban formation of the eighteenth century, with its theater and symmetrical buildings, was intended to cleanse – it was man’s control over nature – and beautify a city that then consisted of small streets and narrow houses. The soldiers who slept with the locals left for barracks built for example around Place de France, planted with trees. Temporary gardens now bring greenery to the comic. »
And as for Place Coislin which should be transformed soon?
“We would all like to make Place Coislin green. But it is very complicated. The presence of a slab connected to the underground car park does not allow for pits to be dug. There are also grates and archaeological remains, including the small Place d’Armes dating back to the 18th century. But As part of its rehabilitation, on the link from Place du Quarteau to Place des Charrons, revegetation should take a weighting place. »
So we can never farm in the middle of the city?
“The issue is not just about planting trees, otherwise we are in a process of whitewashing. We must have a tree and ground surface that ensures the health of the tree. To cool the city, agriculture is one of the measures that should be taken as part of the process of removing water seepage from the soil. »
As a Bâtiments de France architect, can you animate the lines?
“We have been campaigning for a long time, although it has not been in the news, to prevent logging. Our service protects architecture and heritage, but also the urban landscape.
Today, the lines move a lot. Every month my department communicates with the Metropolis and Dark Services (Regional Directorate for Cultural Affairs, editor’s note) before projects. As quickly as possible, we try to remove the waterproofing from the floors. We also sometimes “maximize” initiatives. Below the park where the city waterproofing was removed (part of the plot), we increased the area to be replanted with grass along the flower beds. These steps help reduce temperatures in the city. »
He is the architect of the Bâtiments de France in Metz.
Christophe Charlieri is an architect for Bâtiments de France (ABF), responsible for the city of Metz and the Feuerbach-Bolay and Saarbourg sectors. He is also curator of Metz Cathedral. Originally from the Paris region, he graduated in architecture from the Government in 1999. After training at the Chaillot School, he was able to obtain the title of Heritage Architect. He worked as a freelancer in the French overseas territories, then passed the state competition for architect and town planner to become the ABF.
In 2010, he was the deputy of the ABF in Moselle, Isabelle Michard. In 2014, he directed Udap du Bas-Rhin, then Vosges in 2017.
In October 2021, he became the ABF of Moselle after Guillaume Lefebvre.