Client : Town of Thionville
Architect planner : Wilmotte & Associés SA
Area : 2.5 hectares
Urban redevelopment of three squares in Thionville: Place Claude Arnoult, Place du Marché, and Place de l’Église.
Since 1996, Thionville has been engaged in a process of upgrading its town centre. The intervention here included the layout and pedestrianisation of the squares. The purpose was to give the heart of the town back to the people and to reinforce its connections with the natural axis that the Moselle river’s course forms.
Place Claude Arnoult was laid out to become a promenade area. The Autel de la Patrie monument, which had been erected in the middle of the space, was moved away from the centre, thus opening up a 'clearing' that provides more space for official ceremonies. The planted parterre – an obstacle that formerly encouraged parking – was replaced by a 'carpet' of etched Safrane stone, featuring tones similar to those of the Jaumont stone widely used for the facades of Thionville. This ground surface is divided by bands of split porphyry. The carpet effect is reinforced by the design of the tree grills. Lime trees, chosen for the lightness of their foliage and their size – in keeping with the scale of the square –, are enhanced by a direct, non-glare lighting integrated into the grills. On Place de l'Eglise Saint-Maximin, parking spaces have been removed so as to totally free up the space. The site is delimited by four American sweetgum trees, protected by grills identical to those that punctuate Place Claude Arnoult. At its centre, four 'mirrors' of water are illuminated to create a sense of depth, thus forming a pool in which the surrounding architecture is reflected.