Séjour réalisé pour BURCO Group (10 personnes) - octobre 2017.

In the eighties and early nineties, Bordeaux was still known as the « sleepy city » (« la belle endormie »), with its dying port and economy, many vacant and abandoned properties, downgraded congested city centre. The nineties were the start of a fundamental urban renewal; the process is still ongoing but 20 years after, the transformation has become evident. Bordeaux is now one of the most attractive and vibrant cities in France.


Here are some of the main steps and features of this remarkable urban renewal.


  • A strong strategic long term planning, collectively defined (negotiated urban planning). The presence of Alain Juppé as mayor since 1995 (only interrupted between 2004 and 2006), his local popularity and his strong personality are certainly a condition of the long-term vision.


  • A culture based renewal, embodied through the inscription to the Unesco Heritage List in 2008 of a large part of the city and, amongst others, the rehabilitation of the many vacant warehouses (“Darwin”, rehabilitation of Les Chartrons)


  • The transformation of the docks (old port) into qualitative urban promenades along the river, from the south to the north. As in Barcelona and Valencia, the city discovered the attraction of the water again, creating a king of huge urban garden. The planned Bosc Bridge, designed by OMA (2021) is another example of this smart “river” approach.


  • The willingness to connect the East Bank (Rive Droite) to the City centre through the Tram connection (Pont de Pierre) and the building of the new Chaban-Delmas Bridge (2012), with the purpose to “fill the moon” (the West bank shows a form of “half moon”).


  • The building of a new tramway system, with 3 new lines that connect Downtown to the suburban existing and new districts (like Les Berges du Lac – Ginko) and the progressive reduction of car traffic inside the city.


  • Bringing the High Speed Rail Line (new SNCF bridge, Saint Jean Station) into the agglomeration (and not outside), which is the starting point of Euratlantique, one of the largest real estate operation in France.


  • Densification of the areas inside the Ring Highway (the so called rocade) to avoid urban sprawl; promotion of social diversity in the news districts


  • Promotion of sustainable buildings and land planning: the Ginko district by BLP, the wood towers in Euratlantique (Silva Tower by Art&Build / Hypérion Tower by Jean-Paul Viguier), …


  • Quality architecture and urban planning (Reichen, Robert & Partners, OMA, ANMA, Michel Desvigne, Dominique Perrault, MVRDV, Robbrecht en Daem, Herzog & de Meuron, Rudy Ricciotti, BIG, …)



We will stay 2 days in Bordeaux, just enough to discover some significant aspects of the renewal. We will focus on housing and residential projects, since this is the main activity field of Burco. Still, we will, with some visits, go beyond this subject, to address side issues. Anyway, this stay should be an appetizer, an invitation for you to come back and walk through the city. Bordeaux is still changing and it will offer another face in 5 years, and another one in 10 years…


Our journey will start on Tuesday with the visit of the Chartrons district, which is one of the first requalification projects that Bordeaux initiated (end of the nineties), with a special attention to how to preserve and convert the abandoned wine warehouses (“chais”) into housing. Thierry Jeanmonod, professor and researcher at the Architecture School of Bordeaux, will guide us. He will also give a short introduction on the general context of Bordeaux mutation. We will then take the boat for a trip on the Garonne, with appetizer and drink.


On Wednesday, we will begin with a presentation by the EIFFAGE group of some of their projects in Euratlantique: the transformation of the covered market Halle Debat-Ponsan (now called BOCA) and the future wooden tower that will host 82 housing units.


We will then move to the North, towards the Bassin à flots. First to discover the innovative intergenerational residence Concert’O, designed by Leibar & Seigneurin, with one of the architects of the project. After, it is the Bassin à flots development that will be presented in the Project House by a Bordeaux Metropole representative. You will then have the opportunity to walk through the district (Nexity projects). We will finish the day with a meeting with Christophe Gautié, partner at flint architectes – urbanistes.


Thursday morning will be dedicated to the Berges du Lac area, also called Ginko, that aim to be remarkable for its sustainable, architectural as well as landscape and social diversity approaches.   

Pleine lune sur bordeaux