The field trip to Nantes this time is quite fruitful. We have communicated with local students, exchanged our ideas and understanding on urban design. For the landscape design of a city, it is crucial to combine its geographical resources and integrate its history into the design, just like Nantes.
Nantes is called the “Venice of the West” for its beautiful landscapes. It is bathed by the River Loire, thus for centuries, the river is the center for landscape design of the city. Along the river, lie several famous landmarks that are most popular sites for tourists in Nantes. Some of the landscapes designs are very impressive. The Allée Turenne is a typical example of landscape taking advantage of the river. As a reminder that this district was once encircled by branches of the Loire, Italo Rota and his team designed a new landscape layout for the “Green Island”. It is now covered with lawns and heather in linked geometric shapes, symbolizing the water with a “green streams” look.
France is an open and romantic country, which might be a reason for its distinctive open space design. Lying to the west of Feydeau, was Place de la Petite Hollande designed by Etienne Coutan. He adopted a sunken and non-fenced garden design to offer a viewpoint on the landscape without masking the perspectives. In this fieldtrip, we realize that finding a balance between the background of local culture and the functional requirements, in important to make an outstanding landscape design. For example, the Ile de Versailles was once an industrial district but now appears as a resolutely contemporary Japanese garden. However, the past has not been completely erased in the work. Among the rock gardens and exotic plants, the “Maison de l’Erdre” displays the island’s history and its river heritage, in the center of the Zen garden. To echo Japanese tradition, the“Maison de l’Erdre” is designed as a Japanese tea house.
Nantes is an extrodinary example of city taking advantage of its geographical resources such as rivers, hills and other natural scenery. This fieldtrip has provided us a chance to see and feel the art atmosphere of France. The romantic country, the landscapes and architectures can always give people a maverick feeling.