Parc de la Feyssine
The 45 hectares of the site have an historical antecedent in the 19th-century urbanisation of the left bank of the Rhône. Between the river and the dyke a potential biotope came to life, though it was never occupied for any significant period of time. It was placed under environmental protection in the 1990s, and a competition for the creation of a park was launched, which was won by Ilex. On the scale of the metropolis, this is the final link in a continuity of landscape that runs along the left bank of the Rhône, from the natural islets of Miribel to the urban park of the Tête d’Or, the Cité Internationale, and all the way down to Gerland.
Minimalism and urban nature
In a modest economic context, the objective was to focus on what already existed, displaying and protecting its environmental potential. And light was central to our work. We let it shine into copses where spontaneous regeneration could occur. We reconfigured green spaces in order to protect equilibria. Limitations of resources were turned into virtues. There were excellent public transport services, and no car parks. This being an urban nature project, tarmac and night lighting were avoided. Nature was left free to create the kind of space which was the other facet of an urban environment that epitomised freedom.
It was encouraging (and rare) to note that during the phase of development of the project, the planning options were discussed with local bodies and representatives. And more than 10 years later, the gardeners continue to apply the concepts that have made this a true laboratory of urban nature.