2021 CAT A - Terrain Vague: An Evolving Landscape Legacy

This research project engages with the climate adaptation of the Charente estuary in the French west coast, an anthropized water machine where most of the cultural and rural landscape could be permanently submerged. The proposal suggests the establishment of a landscape laboratory in one of the river’s meanders, an area defined by the presence of several levées built during the Napoleon domain to protect agricultural fields from flooding.

Terrain Vague is used, within its different etymologies, as an interpretative prism to rethink the uncertain relationship with water. Despite its common meaning – used to describe forgotten places where the memory of the past seems to predominate over the present – Terrain Vague expresses the ambiguity of the line between land (terrain) and water movements (la vague – in French wave), a meeting ground that accommodates fluidity, openness, and complexity.
The project makes tangible water fluctuations inviting users to recompose the history of the place. The approach emphasizes the natural processes of this shifting territory and re-evaluates use and status of the river’s floodplain, a space where the water-based landscape acquires a generative role in the evolution and perception of the proposal. Perspectives, monumental promenades, and vegetative sceneries borrowed from the early French garden art are blended with the Nordic tradition of working with openness towards change over time.

The laboratory becomes a place where to observe and learn from the everyday landscape and its constant changes, in a pedagogical process that invites the participation of experts as well as local communities and visitors.

Download the competition entry

Download the executive summary

IFLA Europe
VESTRE Hunter Industries

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