VIDEOS. Between love and hate, discover another side of the Bordeaux Mériadeck district and its architectural heritage

VIDEOS. Between love and hate, discover another side of the Bordeaux Mériadeck district and its architectural heritage
VIDEOS. Between love and hate, discover another side of the Bordeaux Mériadeck district and its architectural heritage

Mériadeck in Bordeaux arouses enthusiasm among some of its residents, attracted by its modernity and its proximity to all services and shops. For others, it is the incomprehension for an architecture of the 70s which divides by its contrast with the historic city center.

First published on 03/20/2023

It’s a world made of glass and concrete, with a unique design, populated with reflections and shimmering towers. All Straight out of the 1960s and 1970s, Mériadeck and its futuristic airs stand out in a city of stone.

A plethora of towers

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Inspired by La Défense in Paris, Mériadeck is built on a raised slab to separate traffic flows between cars and pedestrians. A configuration that necessarily sets the district apart: it is accessed by stairs and, to cross the streets, passers-by use aerial walkways.

Mériadeck and its curves

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A labyrinth for some, an extraordinary place for others, like the architect Mathias Cisnal, author of “Mériadeck, city tour“, published by Editions Le Festin. It presents the principles and original facets of the buildings.

Mériadeck, an architectural curiosity from Bordeaux:

video duration: 00h02mn42s

Mériadeck, an architectural curiosity of Bordeaux

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A modernity all the more surprising as it is located in the place of a district, formerly the most disreputable in Bordeaux, which was conducive to trafficking of all kinds. It is the former mayor of Bordeaux, Jacques Chaban-Delmas, who decided to renovate it. The first architect, Jean Royer, then imagined tower blocks to rehouse the former residents. Only one would ultimately be built.

The second architect, Jean Willerval, imposed cruciform towers, “wasp-waisted”, offering a less massive structure on the ground.
The new Mériadeck was born, built on piles, because of the marshy ground.

The story of Mériadeck:

video duration: 00h02mn49s

Presentation of the architecture of Mériadeck

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Initially designed for rehousing, Mériadeck became a business district, both an administrative and political center.

There you will find the Prefecture, the Departmental Hotel, the Regional Hotel, Bordeaux Métropole, the DDASS, the General Treasury, a shopping center and businesses. But also families.

Very few people from Bordeaux know that there are residents in Mériadeck

Marie-Françoise Michelet, president of the association “Save Mériadeck”

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In total, 37 out of 45 towers are occupied by offices. Eight residences accommodate 2,500 residents, some of whom are very attached to their neighborhood. Marie-Françoise Michelet, who chairs the association “Sauvegarder Mériadeck”, considers it a heritage to be defended.

She believes that there is no question of creating, for example, closed spaces within the three-hectare park. This would be contrary to the initial spirit of freedom.
For its part, the Bordeaux city hall has launched a public consultation to find out the expectations of residents and users.

Living in Mériadeck:

video duration: 00h02mn30s

Living in Mériadeck: the district has 2,500 inhabitants

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With its rounded shapes, inspired by the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the former Caisse d’Epargne is one of the emblematic buildings. Designed in 1974, this urban fortress is already listed as a historic monument.
Purchased by Bordeaux entrepreneur Norbert Fradin in 2015, and renamed “La Caisse”, it now houses a coworking space with a panoramic view, while waiting to become a cultural venue offering shows and entertainment.

Enter one of the most unusual places in Bordeaux:

video duration: 00h02mn49s

The former Caisse d’Epargne becomes “La Caisse”, a cultural venue

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Heritage tours are organized to better discover this district of Bordeaux.



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