Parisian architecture firm Beckmann N’Thépé is heading up the Alléon + Seaport project on the Tam Tam islet in Bordeaux
“Bordeaux’s docks area is set to be the city’s most desirable neighbourhood for those who are looking for somewhere to live that is both urban and set within a magical landscape, environmentally friendly and within walking distance of downtown,” according to Alain Juppé, mayor of Bordeaux. Situated on the banks of the Garonne river, close to the Cité internationale du Vin and the new Chaban-Delmas bridge, with tram links to all parts of the city, the Docks neighbourhood is undergoing a development boom. The Parisian architecture firm Beckmann N’Thépé is involved in this regeneration with the Tam Tam islet, a group of apartment buildings and gardens at the heart of this new neighbourhood.
In order to preserve the industrial character that is part of the history of Bordeaux and the unusual heritage of the Docks area, B/NT decided to emphasise the human scale of the development, so that residents would really take ownership of the site. The emphasis is on bringing a modern spirit to the development, whilst preserving its tranquil environment. To make the proximity of the docks and the water even more attractive, the architects opted for height, offering panoramic views. The silhouette of the development is largely horizontal, but occasional shapes emerging from the buildings dialogue with other high points in the zone, an echo of the cranes that used to line the harbour.
The plan developed by B/NT combines social and private housing. Separated into two areas by a pathway, the project explores the authenticity of its twentieth century heritage, which drawing attention to its highest point on rue Lucie Aubrac. A “tower” stands out from the rest at the level R+5, whilst the interior of the islet is brought down to the scale of small houses, designed on a more human scale. The principal material, metal, is visible in the cladding, roofing, facades, duckboards, balconies, staircases and walkways that are visible from the exterior and which create a diverse and lively whole. A range of metals (steel, either galvanised or with a grey metallic finish) and coloured shutters placed apparently randomly, create an atypical and contemporary design. The graphic lines of the coloured tarpaulin awnings confer a subtle elegance, contrasting with the prevailing radicalism. Openings and closures carve common spaces through the buildings, creating wide, planted terraces for the use of residents.