The Foundries’ Garden is built on the “Ile de Nantes” project, one of the biggest urban conversions in France. It is located in the middle of the island, in a suburban area surrounded by social housing and factories. The project consists in upgrading the residential and public spaces around the Fondries Atlantique complex, a company specialised in manufacturing propellers for cruise ships. Rails, industrial ovens and three moulding pits are just a few of the noticeable signs of the old activity that remain on the site.
One of the main goals of ADH Doazan + Hirschberger Architects was to create a covered garden, to be used as a protected space for everyday use, children’s games and community social events. Another important factor was to showcase the former industrial activity, “not just as a museum, but also as the legacy of a place where many local citizens were employed, and for which the conservation of the site is an emotional tribute to the city’s industrial past”.
The garden is split in two different parts: a “Jardin des Fours” and a “Travel Garden”. In the former, where the old ovens are, bamboo, graminae and cane have been planted to create green columns next to the new water tanks; this garden is referred to as a machine gallery. The latter occupies the majority of the area and is buildt 1,5 metres above the original ground level; here the travel theme is shown through a collection of plants that came to Europe through the Atlantic ports between the 16th and 18th century. The former iron structure was repaired and repainted, while the roof was replaced with a mix of solid and transparent polycarbonate tiles, so that it could protect the site from the wind and keep the inside temperature a few degrees higher than the outside climate.
Images from ADH Doazan + Hirschberger Architects