This proposal intends to introduce a new way of thinking abut conceiving the city in terms of inclusive and resilient operational strategies for a new lakeside estate at Neuilly-sur-Marne. The main objective is optimising the interaction between resources – natural, urban and human – and human activity waste, in order to create the conditions for a new and authentically sustainable lifestyle, ecologically, but otherwise.
The main issue is to state a new infrastructural ecology. The project explores in an englobing way the concept of urban system: each component would find its place in an overview that is founded on mastering exchanges of the urban ecosystem, which would also impose the elaboration and creation of resources, by the landscaping of new lifestyles. This, thanks to the notion of «infrastructural ecology», wider than that of «ecological infrastructure», would not only include construction works, but also the final goal of the layout of a durable life system, which can be accomplished thanks to the support of the infrastructure set up by the project. This infrastructure provides synergies between usual exchanges between Man and material elements (works, mechanisms, networks) and those of urban lifestyles and local resources (natural water, wastewater, renewable energy, waste).
The urbanism we propose defines a biomimetical urbanism. It imitates nature in its shapes and its optimised organisational principles, especially hexagonal‐based shapes, designed in order not to exceed in resources consumption, and rhizomic structures to optimise distribution of fluids in the networks, as part of a cellular urbanism matrix whose units fit into each other to give a complex and live tissue. The proposal affirms its sustainable vocation defining its backbone on the cycle of water. The goal of the urban hydro-rhizome is to locally take care of wastewater purification in a completely natural and ecological way. There are numerous advantages of this ecological improvement system: heavy costs for the community are avoided since no sewers neither purification plants are needed, and energy consumption is zero since water flows along its path by simple gravity. The first process will be phyto-purification: by the joint use of plants and microorganisms, a water of a swimming quality will be obtained. A first anoxic cycle in « septic tanks » allows eliminating 30% of pollutants from wastewater and thus avoiding solid devices in the phyto-purfication network.
First planted filters will be placed at buildings firs level, conferring them a landscaped and useful facade: 50 to 60% of the water can be considered as already purified of noxious substances even before it reaches the ground. The new site topography allows lagooning. Semi-treated water flows by gravity from one lagoon to the other, which are characterised by different biotopes in order to treat different types of water pollution and to obtain an excellent final quality. As a last step in this purification track, when water already has a quality such as to allow fish life, fresh water mussels are introduced. These are true filtering plants, since each one of them is able to filter aup to 40 litres of water a day.Location: Neuilly-Sur-Marne, Ile de France, France Architects: Aétrangère Project name: Urban Hydro-Rhizome
Project description: New lakeside city center in a flood area.
Type: Open International Ideas Competition
Client: City of Neuilly-Sur-Marne & Europan France
Program: Housing, park, office, retail, multi-modal tramway station, ecological infrastructures, river aquarium, marina.
Site area: 48 HA
Project area: 110 000 sqm
Scope: Architectural, Urban and Landscape Concept Design
Project year: 2011
Project leader: Mario Caceres
Team: Mario Caceres, Architect and Urban Planner.
Christian Canonico, Architect and Engineer