The Future of the La Défense Esplanade Takes Shape with the Park Project
A new stage in the transformation of the La Défense esplanade begins. Paris La Défense unveils its ambitions through a spectacular greening project, fully participating in the reinforcement of the place of nature in the city pursued by the public establishment.
Following the implementation of several experimental sequences between 2017 and 2021, the overall urban project for the transformation of the esplanade is now unveiled. The roadmap set by Paris La Défense was to imagine a coherent and sustainable development of the public spaces of the esplanade, between the Agam and Takis basins, all in conjunction with the inhabitants. With this in mind, Paris La Défense has entrusted the development of the park to the Michel Desvigne Paysagiste (MDP) group, whose preliminary project we are unveiling.
From a landscape point of view, the park project will have two faces. The first, classical, will extend the historical route of the axis created by André Le Nôtre (from the Tuileries Gardens to the business district). The second will adopt a bolder, more contemporary vocabulary, reflecting the visionary and innovative DNA that has always permeated the area.
The main principles of the Park are based on:
- Vegetated areas (lawns) for relaxation and sports activities;
- Stabilized areas (like Parisian gardens) with various urban furniture (tables, deckchairs, benches, terraces, etc.) for petanque, leisure, relaxation, work in the shade of plane trees and food-trucks;
- Flower beds and water basins (under study) for walking and contemplation.
Key figures of the Park
- 5 hectares
- 450 plane and lime trees preserved
- 600 m of urban park, between the Agam and Takis basins
In addition to its environmental dimension, the Park project intends to respond to the evolution of different uses for more conviviality, sharing, nature, sports and leisure. But all within a framework set by Paris La Défense:
- Preserve the historical heritage of the axis by respecting and revealing the legacy of Dan Kiley, landscape designer of the esplanade in 1972.
- Spread vegetation (with a goal of 60% of the esplanade’s surfaces being vegetated and permeable) and biodiversity in the heart of the business district, by devising simple, sustainable and economical solutions (for example, preserving as much of the existing vegetation as possible or managing rainwater in an eco-responsible manner).
- Improve the connection between Puteaux and Courbevoie and between the top and bottom of the slab, while increasing user comfort with shaded and cool areas.
These are ambitious objectives to achieve, but not without difficulties, since the esplanade rests on a slab located several meters above the natural ground. This implies the choice of tree species adapted to the particular climate of the district, but also according to the capacity of the slab to support their weight.
A study phase is currently underway to complete this ambitious project which will make the area greener and more durable.