Parallel planted fringes define new purification plant by Arte Charpentier
Classified in 2000 as a UNESCO world heritage site, the Loire Valley enjoys a remarkable cultural, historical and landscaped environment. It was registered under the term of ‘evolutionary and living cultural landscape' for the quality of its architectural heritage. On the southern bank of the Loire, near the Pont de l'Europe (Europe Bridge) and one of the principal entrances to the town of Orleans, the Arrault island water treatment plant enjoys an exceptional landscaped environment.
For the project of the ‘green' purification plant of the Arrault island, work on landscape insertion led from the very start of the reflection and following numerous trips along the banks of the Loire to consider a building in symbiosis with its environment. Going as far as fixing the presence of the building onto the landscape, the architects worked on simple and pure lines.
The architecture thus borrows graphic and linear shapes from the layout of the thin strips of spontaneous vegetation at the edges of the Loire. In this project, the landscape takes precedence; it imprints a building which comes to merge naturally with existing nature. The roof consists of a light structure carrying planted metal tubs of meadow plants. In twenty centimetres of earth, a vegetation cover requiring little maintenance is installed.
A link is then woven between architecture and geography in an intimate relationship where the lines of the building, the natural marking of the vegetation roof and the herbaceous cover of the ground all merge. To respect the natural site and radically fix the presence of the future equipment, a vegetation continuum is established with the wild edges of the river.
In an effect of landscape mimicry, the plant reproduces the green undulations of the site. Between the two area - one still wild, the other controlled by man - the restored landscape inspires a building in osmosis with surrounding nature, borrowing from the linear layouts of the edges of the Loire, such as the thin strips of spontaneous vegetation and solid wooded massifs.