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La Corrèze (FR)

Category urban – architectural

Location Ussel (19200) - Argentat (19400) - Turenne (19500)
Population Turenne 822 hab. - Argentat 3,016 hab. - Ussel 9,948 hab.
Strategic sites (municipalities' areas) Turenne 28 km2 - Argentat 22 km2 - Ussel 50 km2
Project sites Turenne 14 ha - Argentat 0.8 ha - Ussel 2 ha
Sites proposed by Municipalities of Turenne, Argentat and Ussel with support of Corrèze Departmental State Services (Direction Départementale des Territoires 19)
Owner(s) of the sites different owners
Commision after competition département scale workshops, consultancy roles, preoperational urban studies, design and project management with partners

Team representative urban planner – architect – landscaper















More info

How can the site contribute to the adaptable city?

The continuous polarization into big cities, where investment and innovation are concentrated, raises questions about the future of rural spaces situated outside areas of metropolitan influence. It masks the difficulties of huge areas made up of shrinking communities, villages and towns in rural sectors. 
How can we reintroduce the question of the future of the countryside into the debates on urban transformations and changing ways of life? How can these territories adapt and resist the effects of demographic shrinkage, population ageing and economic decline? 
Apart from raising the question of adaptation, the three sites in Corrèze more broadly call for a contemporary conception of rurality, in terms of habitat and lifestyles, activities and services, project production and alternative modes of development.

City strategy

The three communities are supported by the Departmental State Services which provide assistance with the implementation of town and district Local Urban Plans and promote robust and resilient project-based development. 
They wished to rethink their approaches to development and are looking for urban and architectural innovation, with shared objectives: to consolidate their historical centres and nuclei, to maintain amenities and services, to offer new housing conditions suited to new ways of living and working in rural areas, to reintroduce contemporary forms of housing into the existing fabric, to optimise their landscape and tourist potential, to establish a better dialogue between traditional and contemporary architecture. 
The purpose of proposing three sites in Corrèze is to try out innovative project approaches and processes, applicable to each site, resulting in operational proposals for housing and population services. These projects are intended for sharing with other authorities in the département.

Site By Site

CITY STRATEGY – With a population of almost 10,000, this is the largest community of the three Corrèze sites, with a composite structure arising from development in urban pockets with few connections. 
Apart from regarding projects, Ussel municipality wishes to revitalise the heart of the town by moving into developing or abandoned spaces such as the former fairground (project site on the edge of the town centre), which is home to two recently completed public amenities (multipurpose hall and health centre).
SITE DEFINITION – The project site corresponds to the former fairground, property of the municipality (eastern side) and a brownfield site recently acquired by a private developer, a direct continuation of the town centre. The part owned by the municipality includes metal structures part of which has been reused to build a community hall. 
At its southern end, the site houses a recently built health centre. The project, therefore, is to reintroduce housing around amenities and services that are already present, but may be added to, in relation to the town centre and the immediate environment (detached houses, secondary school, hospital).

CITY STRATEGY – Argentat stands on the bank of the Dordogne (listed sites), whose bridges provide picturesque views over the mediaeval town. The strategic site includes the historic centre and its edges, where the aim is to find new ways of developing intergenerational housing and a centre for social life.
SITE DEFINITION – The project site (îlot de la Françonnie) is a former retail area, currently occupied by a closed supermarket and a car park, together with a stretch of unoccupied municipal land. There are also some very old houses on its eastern edge. 
It offers a major opportunity to build housing close to existing amenities (media library, health centre, indoor market) and attached to the town centre. The shops are concentrated along Avenue Pasteur and Place Gambetta. 
Though primarily residential, the programme may also include small areas of businesses or local services, with the focus being on regenerating the heart of the town.

CITY STRATEGY – Recognised as one of France’s most beautiful villages (listed site), Turenne municipality is currently starting a Local Development Plan. Within this framework, it wishes to develop the station hamlet, situated 3 km south of the village centre. 
The aim of building new housing around the old station is to offer the future inhabitants a high-quality and contemporary living environment, respectful of the existing architectural and landscape context. The work on this site will be included in the ongoing Local Development Plan and in the programme for a group of dwellings attached to the hamlet. 
SITE DEFINITION – Turenne station hamlet is located around 3 km from the village centre and houses some 40 people, both long-term and recent residents. The station is now derelict but there is still a service of the few trains in the evening and morning. 
East of the railway line, the Tourmente Valley will retain its natural character. The project will include the SNCF building and explore the possibility of its reuse. 
In the medium term, development is considered west of the railway line, on either side of the D8 departmental road. The new dwellings will need to be incorporated into a network of footpaths linking the station to the housing above.

Future of the site in relation to the site family and Adaptability

The Corrèze sites belong to the site family : how to create positive dynamics from a difficult situations?
This project is about responding to objectives of social and economic adaptability in order to revitalize two village centers and a relatively isolated hamlet. 
The Corrèze sites are more globally engaged with the question of ‘Welfare State versus Self-Organization’. It invites candidates to explore new forms of sharing and solidarity with multi scale projects and thinking.



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