Les Brotteaux: Place du Colonel Brosset


Place des Brotteaux is part of an urban ensemble that dates from the 19th and early 20th centuries, situated opposite Lyon’s former central railway station. A new traffic flow plan, and the provision of underground parking, opened up the possibility of a pedestrian space. In harmony with the architectural character of the area, the idea was to design a « garden-square » in an historical architectural setting that would be at the same time uncomplicated and imposing, and would express the articulation of these two desiderata.

An impressive garden

The garden in the centre is both simple and structural. The proportions of its 23 rectangles of vegetation and flowers reflect those of the station. The plant life is low in profile, on the human scale, and does not disturb the perspectives or the ergonomy.
Under the trees there are seats and benches that favour communication, along with a play area for children.


The square creates a link between economic life, the station and the garden. On this broad, limestone-paved esplanade there are also cafés and restaurants.

Re-architecturalising public space

Just months after its completion, Place du Général Brosset was already integrated into the collective imagination as a symbol of freedom. Peaceable, human, it is a communal meeting place. This rapid appropriation was facilitated by intensive prior discussions.

And the next stage in the process may well be for schools or other social bodies to take over parts of the garden, as educational aids in the heart of the city.

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Client: Grand Lyon
Competition winner, 2006
First terraces: spring 2012
Completion: December 2012
Design: Ilex paysage urbanisme (team leader), Cap Vert Ingénierie (BE VRD), Marc Aurel (lighting design)
Area: 17,000 m2
Budget: €5.2 m (excl. tax)