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We were shortlisted with Will Alsop, D’Ici La Paysagistes and Spie Batignolles on this competition to redevelop a part of Lille in Northern France around a system of disused old canals.

One of the key issues is the really poor water quality in the old waterways. We developed a strategy to improve the water quality with a wind-powered recirculation and aeration system. Oxygen will be brought in the water by a series of playful water games and features, bringing together environmental strategy and place making.

We had great fun designing the 21st Century version of pre-industrial era water wheels, an infinity pool at the top of an old fortification wall, an aqueduct, a number of cascades, and a bespoke tipping water feature.

We also developed a number of footbridges, to connect the different parts of the public realm and ensure the space is effectively used by the local community. We used a honeycomb pattern, which we varied to map to the structural requirements and to the character of the different parts of the public realm.

Fred Labbé

Client: Communauté Urbaine de Lille

Architect: Will Alsop

Landscape Architects: D’Ici La Paysagistes

Main Contractor: Spie Batignolles

Status: Competition completed 2011

Lille Plan Bleu