Caruso St John Architects

Location: Bordeaux, FR
Client: Malardeau Kauffman Broad
Project Status: Competition, first prize

The project is a private development for a mixture of house and apartment types totalling 600 dwellings, on a site on the southern edge of the city of Bordeaux. Caruso St John are working on both the masterplan for the whole site and the detailed design of the dwellings. The site design is being made in collaboration with the landscape architect Michel Desvigne.

The site has a beautiful rural character, bordering a landscape of trees, fields and artificial lakes, close to the river Garonne. Existing mature trees will be incorporated into the plan. The development has a relatively low density, providing a range of individual house types with gardens, and apartment buildings with shared landscape. The density prescribed by local planning laws varies across the site in such a way as to make distinct parts within the overall plan, each with an identity that connects to the adjacent landscape. The buildings will feel as if they are within a thin forest planted across the whole area that extends all the way to the river. The rational arrangement of roads, wide pavements and informal tree planting across the whole development draws on American precedents of city planning such as Olmsted's suburbs in Buffalo, where a balance is achieved between the individuality of the dwelling and an overall park-like environment.