A stone’s throw from the center of Amiens lye the Hortillonnages, a unique landscape world heritage site. Reclaimed from the ancient marshlands, this vast system of irrigated cultivation is made up from a network or canals surrounding cultivated islands. Born form the intervention of man, this remarkable landscape experienced a slow evolution over centuries before its gradual decline during the last decades. Faces with the extinction of the islands through the erosion of their banks, members of the local community have mobilized to save this area.
In 2010, the Maison de la Culture d’Amiens launched its first festival of Arts, ville et paysage, with the ambition to attracted visitors onto the Hortillonnages and to inform and educate through the intervention of young architects, artists and landscape architects. The group Les Jardiniers Nomades was selected to develop an attraction for this festival.
At the heart of the Hortillonnages there lies a neglected island dominated by a hut in ruins. The design team was drawn to this location, seduced by the inherent symbolic reference to the present state of a landscape in decline. The project ‘le Syndrome de la page blanche’ does not envisage the island as the base for a work of art but as a work of art in its own right. This island characterizes the Hortillonnages with its different components.
1-The exceptional fertile nature of the soil is illustrated by the abundance of wild meadow enveloping to the fringes of the island.
2-The trees spontaneously appear from the abandoned island, revealing the architectural strength of the nature, resuming its rightful place over culture.
3-The hut, sober and mysterious, is open on one side, acting as a ‘camera obscura’ from which the observer can appreciate the apparent tranquility of the water and the illusion of a constant landscape.
4-Finally, the plenitude offered by this remarkable environment is put at hand of the observer thanks to big wooden structures which invite the visitors to meditate in the hollow of a net, suspended between sky and water, in limbo between the foliage of trees and the meadow.
By bringing to light the character of the island, our reversible intervention, suggests re-questioning the future. If the success of the festival contributes largely to educating and connecting the visitors to this important heritage, the question still remains unresolved: what history to write on this ‘page blanche’?
Le Syndrome De La Page Blanche | Amiens France | Les Jardiniers Nomades
Landscape Architecture: Collectif les Jardiniers Nomades
Team : Stanislas Bah Chuzeville, Michael de Tourdonnet, Arnaud Mermet-Gerlat, Florian Michel
Client: Maison de la Culture d’Amiens
Location: Amiens, France
Area: 700 m²
Estimated Construction Value: 8000 euros
Photos & text: Les Jardiniers Nomades