For the agency, the outdoor space occupies an important place in each architectural project, considering buildings and landscapes as a unit. Construction, rehabilitation or extension, the project of outdoor installations and green spaces is thus carried out simultaneously. If the exterior and the care taken in it promote well-being, the integration of nature in medico-social architecture can also reveal precious therapeutic virtues.
What are the advantages that result from the harmony between interior and exterior?
For each project, there is always a desire to produce a quality atmosphere through the way we design the inhabited space. What we do aims for a harmonious result in order to make the residents as happy as possible. The interaction between buildings and the landscape is essential for comfort and necessary for framing and orientation.
How do you approach the work on outdoor spaces?
Any new architectural project begins with the analysis of the site and the conditions, orientation and topography. The question of visual relationships as well as landscape elements and buildings, if applicable, is also studied. All this constitutes the fundamentals for the development of a project and its external installations.
Planning a building with the associated outdoor space, how do you approach it?
In each of our designs, we incorporate all of the program requirements. We need to study what is required, the conditions, what we need to pay attention to, the visual relationships. What spaces do we have? What spaces do we have? How are these spaces functionally connected with the interior? What will be their function (pedestrian / vehicle circulation, amenity, parking or storage, « brise-vue » or green wall …?
When you talk about the usefulness of outdoor spaces, what do you mean?
Nature is a big help on different levels. In addition to providing greenery for a pleasant and airy setting, we promote, through various facilities, the use of local species and biodiversity to awaken the senses, for example. Plantations, hedges and borders also make it possible to guide or create plant separations. They also offer the possibility of concealing technical spaces such as parking or delivery in a harmonious way.
Do you have any example?
For the FAM (Foyer d’Accueil Médicalisé) in Fontenay, we have imagined a chromatic walk through plantations of trees and shrubs of various colors and species. This journey reveals changing atmospheres of the course but also of the seasons, creating a stimulating environment. For residents (sensitive disabled and / or elderly population), it is also a question of helping them to recognize the passage of time, by identifying the seasons. An identification enabled by the evolution of the appearance of the plants next to them during his walk (colors and presence of the leaves, size of the plants, odors of the flowers, …).
Fam from Fontenay
What about the interaction?
For this same establishment, we have also designed a vegetable garden, again promoting residents’ interactions with nature. We also added a basin that participates in a diverse ecosystem (local flora and fauna). This basin, designed to collect rainwater from the building, is a fine example of a technical constraint modified into a landscape asset.
This is also what we did for the exterior spaces of the EHPAD in Santeny. In this place, floodable depressions are integrated into the topography of the land to serve as a spillway for rainwater collected on the roofs and roads (impermeable spaces). This makes it possible to comply with local regulations which did not allow discharge on the public network. This gently sloping flooding depression system avoids steep and deep drainage valleys that can cause falls for residents. This also gives the possibility of avoiding buried basins, which are very expensive and laborious.
What about the so-called “therapeutic” gardens?
For the needs of the CSSR de Gouvieux, we have created a therapeutic garden. This green space is specifically designed to adapt to the physical, ambulatory, social and psychological needs of its users. It allows disabled or aging residents a connection with nature.
If we design these therapeutic gardens most often in care establishments, they can also perfectly find their place in all types of buildings. This is particularly true for childcare facilities for young disabled adults. The supervisory staff can offer planting activities, thematic workshops around taste (aromatic plants, vegetable garden, …), smell and colors.