This young architect imagines the transformation of Toulon with a new naval station

This young architect imagines the transformation of Toulon with a new naval station

Transforming the coast and the city of Toulon through a resilient and sustainable project is the idea of ​​Louis Guibault. The young man envisioned a new marine terminal that would generate public space for this port and military city. The project was conceived as part of his degree at the École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture in Paris-Belleville, from which he graduated in 2021. Above all, it caught the attention of the jury of the Architectural Academy Awards and Prizes in Paris. 2023. This awarded him, in September, the Young Graduate Award in Architecture (Prize Mutuelle des Architectes français).

It was the urban analysis of this city that brought me to work in this process. I recognized the problem of civilian takeover of the coast. There, the army owns most of the land. My idea then was to return the coastline to the people of Toulon and return the space to civilian uses by envisioning the port infrastructure.“, says Louis Guibault, whom Batiacoto contacted.

More public space thanks to this infrastructure

Currently a collaborator within the Rudy Ricciotti agency, in Bandol (Var), the architect chose to install his building on military land near the Port-Marchand swimming pool, a few steps from the old center and the neighborhood from Mourillon beach. “This site was the subject of a tender and within five years offices, a hotel and a park will be built. Then I made a counterproposal.“The latter relies on relocating cruise ship departures to this 70,000 square meter site and building a port infrastructure that would create a public space, opening onto the city of Var. This would result in three parallel buildings and a large public square treated as a diagonal.” airplane.

The marina is one of the only entrances to the sea in the city. Ferries, many of which make trips to the Mediterranean and stop in Toulon, are very important to the city’s economy.“The problem? The station is located next to the port, the old center and the rugby stadium, and it is only one building.”The airport runway area is surrounded by barbed wire“.”Enhancing the transfer of departing flights would provide better access for transferred passengers“, thinks the young prize winner.

Perspective view of the boarding station from the boarding platform. © Louis Guibault

At the new location, he would like to build parking space.Which would free up the floors and allow pedestrians to replicate the space“Vehicle flow management will be possible through”Bridge construction“, are naturally ventilated and placed on large concrete columns. The levels will be distributed by a double spiral ramp, creating a ring circulation system. In the same space and inside each indoor station, public facilities will be built, such as a school, a sports facility and a cinema.”The working structure thus becomes the architecture of the building“, confirms Louis Guibault.

Honor local knowledge

Although he comes from the Paris region, the young professional is connected to the city of Toulon and its history. “The area has a turbulent past, and history can be read in its urban fabric, neighborhoods and architecture.“And this is the historical charge that he took into account in his urban study.”I wanted to look at the past but also at the future of the city.“For example, envision a tangible structure, which would pay tribute to local culture, industrial knowledge and craftsmanship.”The site was occupied by reinforced concrete military buildings, which could not be rehabilitated because they were too dilapidated. The idea here is to experiment with demolished concrete, which will be recycled and reused, especially for outdoor paving and urban furniture.“, continues the architect.

The site is designed to be “Flexible and scalable“, In case “Scenario of growth or decline in maritime traffic“Parking areas could become, for example, residential, cultural or workplace spaces. All these proposals were admired by the jury of the Academy of Architecture, who praised the courage of Louis Guibault.”To address a topic whose scale and complexity combine issues of urban rehabilitation, infrastructure, circulation and public spaces“.

Naval Station Toulon Louis Guibault
Perspective view of the public park. © Louis Guibault

Thoughts about transportation

Although the project will not see the light of day, it is interesting to emphasize the ambition of this design, which would breathe new life into this city with a population of 170,000 people. The city is at the heart of mobility development issues in the region. The capital of the Var is located between Marseille and Nice, and is affected by a railway project that would lead to the desaturation of the Côte d’Azur.

The city also seeks to attract more visitors and meet the needs of its residents. To this end, it announced, in May 2023, its goal of doubling the share of public transport by 2030 with RATP, with more buses and water buses. “The municipality is counting on spreading this mobility to make the city more dynamic“, analyzes Louis Guibault.

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