Francisco MANGADO

Pey-Berland Square+



30.000 m2

In historical and institutional terms, Pey-Berland Square is the most important public space of Bordeaux, where the cathedral and City Hall stand, and which covers a surface of approximately 30,000 square meters. At the time when the proposal was designed, this space was completely dominated by busy traffic and by the fragmentation caused by a chaotic organization. The cathedral, a first-rate monument, was clearly detached from its context, absent one could say. What was once a historical contribution to the urban scenario had become yet another addition to the reigning disorder.

The City Council of Bordeaux decided to call a competition to generate architectural proposals which, acting on the spatial configuration of the complex and its redevelopment, would allow the same to earn the urban significance that the cathedral and its surroundings deserve.

The project presented recovers the cathedral as an exceptional historical piece, but also as an element capable of spurring on urban “energies” in the rest of the city. A continuous pavement full of references to the cathedral takes up the void left after the removal of numerous encumbering obstacles (mainly those related to traffic). Evoking the plaques that covered the tombs inside the temple, surfaces of light sail freely in the sea of granite covering the square, now only for pedestrian circulation.

The two central buildings, cathedral (religious power) and City Hall (civil power), stand out over the solid and timeless urban plinth. The project design also suggests small additions to address specific problems as well as a special treatment for some areas and spaces that, though part of the whole complex, must be given a special attention. 

In this sense the streetcar, as a means for public transportation that is quiet and economical, takes on a important role that is reflected in the treatment of paved areas and in the scenographic character it acquires: new, clean technology for a historical site. And the space between the cathedral apse and tower or the southerly tree-lined promenade see how their role as “gardens of the cathedral”, as private living spaces, is enhanced by this new design, without obscuring the perception of the square as a whole. Wood blocks and different kinds of granite paving point up this aspect.

Place Pey-Berland, 33000 Burdeos, Francia

Competition for the Redesign of Pey-Berland Square in Bourdeaux
First Prize.
La galerie d'architecture Exhibition Catalog
Future Arquitecturas #41-42
AMC Le Moniteur Architecture
Le Moniteur Editions. Paris (France)
Arquitectura Española. Spanish Architecture (1997-2008)
Ca-Group, Shangai (China)
ISSN: 1683-0717
10x10 #3. 100 Architects, 10 Critics
+Arquitectura #30
Arcatura. Lisboa (Portugal)
Spanish Architecture (1997-2007)
CA-Group, Shangai (China)
Future Arquitecturas #7
TC Cuadernos 72-73: Francisco Mangado. Arquitectura 1998-2006
C3 #259
C3 Publishing Co. Seul (Korea)
Revista Arquitectos #174
Consejo Superior de Colegios de Arquitectos de España. Madrid (Spain)
DBZ #7: Landschaft
R&R #99: Revista internacional de patrimonio histórico
América Ibérica S.A. Madrid (Spain)
ISBN-10: XXXX-00101582
Opere e progetti: Francisco Mangado
Mondadori Electa. Milan (Italy)
ISBN-10: 9788837031879
L’architecture d’aujourd’hui #355: Voire
Archipress&Associés. Paris (France)
Diseño Interior #144
Globus Comunicación S.A. Madrid (Spain)
Arquitectura Viva #74: Obras de Consumo
Arquitectura Viva #98: España Exporta
Plaza Dalí
Rather than a square, the Plaza de Dalí or Avenida de Felipe II is a complex space of great urban value in the center of Madrid. In spite of this, the area’s poor paving had turned it into an inhospitable space for pedestrians. Aside from this, there was another aspect that determined the proposal to a large extent: the adjacent department stores took up the whole underground space with a parking area whose limits went beyond those of the project itself, and their being so close to the surface above made it unfeasible to plant trees there. A sculpture by Salvador Dalí, that certainly had to be maintained, stood at one end of the square, right in front of the access to the city’s recently remodeled Palacio de Deportes, that acts as backdrop.The new project follows two objectives: through the improvement, repaving and restructuring of the complex, to endow it with a formal significance in tune with its importance as a central public space of the city, but also to attain a certain degree of comfort to allow neighbors, who up to now contemplated this area with some distance, to make it their own.Though the proposal pursues a unitary image in keeping with the space’s current scale, it also tries to frame certain areas that may help to give the whole a more reasonable scale, defining more ‘specific’ atmospheres that citizens may individualize and enjoy even when the weather is uninviting. 

The new paving represents the unit as a whole. A “dense” paving, built in granite and bronze, highlighted by the sculptures of Francesc Torres, as well as the LED strips that give the square a new geometric order and visual appeal. The paving, in this case the only element with potential to trigger an urban transformation, is an essential factor in most of the project decisions, going beyond a strictly material, secondary role and acquiring a conceptual and strategic value that is essential, even more so in this case in which the other dimensions of the urban space are historically defined (and their being altered impossible), and in which the subsoil has been excavated at different levels (a situation beyond repair).The aforementioned framed spaces, with a more pleasant and cozy scale, are materialized here with landscaped surfaces that rise from the paving and slope in the form of wedges filled with soil and deep enough to contain vegetation and trees, as well as urban furniture pieces and benches that turn this space into a welcoming living area.The main objective throughout the development of this project has been to plant trees in spite of the lack of subsoil.The consideration of light as a primary ‘material’ that helps to give shape to the new configuration is another priority. Aside from its use as a physical part of the pavement, light also acts as an element that helps to transform the underground parking accesses (for both pedestrians and cars), whose location could not be changed. So though these accesses initially seemed to be encumbering elements, in the end they have become illuminated pieces that earn a special significance, thanks to their size and location, within the new square. They emerge from the ground, especially at night, like fiction “minerals” that, once again, bring the attention to the nonexistent subsoil.