St Etienne's original arms manufacturing facilities, where production started in the 1880s



FRONT PAGE
Site Search
About us |
Quiénes somos |
A propos de nous | Über uns |
Mayor Monitor
Directories
Events
Debate


St Etienne: Cité du Design
2012 Olympics: East London
UK development finance
Dubai & Shanghai development
Cities' future
Urbanisation 2008 to 2030
Urban ecological footprint
Green mega cities
Lessons for urban Britain
Gated community Alphaville
South Korean Intelligent Cities
Brasilia, Capital of Brazil
US built environment in 2030


City Mayors reports news from towns and cities around the world. Worldwide | Elections | North America | Latin America | Europe | Asia | Africa |


City Mayors ranks the world’s largest, best as well as richest cities and urban areas. It also ranks the cities in individual countries, and provides a list of the capital cities of some 200 sovereign countries. More


City Mayors profiles city leaders from around the world. More


City Mayors describes the history, architecture and politics of the greatest city halls in the world. More


Mayors from The Americas, Europe. Asia, Australia and Africa compete for the World Mayor Award. More


Use
Mayor Monitor to rate the performance of mayors from across the world More


In your opinion: Praise Criticise. Write


City Mayors reports political events, analyses the issues and depicts the main players. More


City Mayors describes and explains the structures and workings of local government in Europe, The Americas, Asia, Australia and Africa. More


City Mayors deals with economic and investment issues affecting towns and cities. More


City Mayors describes and explains financial issues affecting local government. More


City Mayors reports urban environmental developments and examines the challenges faced by cities worldwide. More


City Mayors reports on and discusses urban development issues in developed and developing countries. More


City Mayors reports on developments in urban society and behaviour and reviews relevant research. More


City Mayors invites readers to write about the people in their cities. More


City Mayors examines city brands and marketing. More


City Mayors lists and features urban events, conferences and conventions aimed at urban decision makers and those with an interest in cities worldwide. More



City Mayors deals with urban transport issues in developed and developing countries and features the world’s greatest metro systems. More


City Mayors examines education issues and policies affecting children and adults in urban areas. More


City Mayors investigates health issues affecting urban areas with an emphasis on health in cities in developing countries. More


City Mayors reports on how business developments impact on cities and examines cooperation between cities and the private sector. More


City Mayors examines the contributions history and culture make to urban society and environment. More


City Mayors examines the importance of urban tourism to city economies. More


City Mayors questions those who govern the world’s cities and talks to men and women who contribute to urban society and environment. More


City Mayors profiles national and international organisations representing cities as well as those dealing with urban issues. More


City Mayors reports on major national and international sporting events and their impact on cities. More


City Mayors lists cities and city organisations, profiles individual mayors and provides information on hundreds of urban events. More

St Etienne re-invents itself
as city for art and design

By Brian Baker, Senior Correspondent

28 March 2010: When Maurice Vincent, Mayor of Saint Etienne and President of the agglomeration authority Saint Etienne Metropole, welcomed guests to the opening of the 64 million euros Cité Du Design in November 2009 he was completing a task initiated by his predecessor Michel Thiollore well over a decade ago. Michel Thiollore, who placed fifth in the World Mayor contest in 2006, came to office in the early 1990’s with a dynamic and positive approach to the task of restoring the city’s fortunes.

Closures and downsizing of manufacturing activities had made the Rhônes-Alpes city a depressed place with unemployment well above the natural average and population decline as young, talented people especially, left. He drove forward a raft of large projects to try to create a different future for Saint Etienne. Amongst them was the vision for a centre for design, which would have national and international credibility and significance.

Michèl Thiolloree and Jacques Bonnaval, who was then the Director of Saint Etienne School of Fine Arts, now the School of Art and Design, developed a shared concept for the centre and began to argue for it. Together the two men gradually gathered support for the proposal. When it became clear that the decline of the Manufacture Des Armes site close to the city centre would lead to complete closure the ideal location for a new facility was obvious.

It would provide a new home for the school and a range of resources for design and designers and be the home of the International Biennale of Design, which the school of fine art and design supported by the city, agglomeration and region founded as a high profile element of this future vision for the area in 1998.

The innovative Paris and Berlin-based LIN practice run by Giulia Andi and Finn Geipel won the architectual competition for the scheme, which combines new buildings with re-use of some of the suite of outstanding 1860’s buildings at the Manufacture site and includes over 60,000 square metres of development and refurbishment.

Cité Du Design is almost entirely financed by the public sector. It will be judged a success only if it draws private companies which provide good jobs to the available buildings and land around it. ZAC Manufacture and Plaines Achilles, which includes a 107 hectares area has been established to facilitate future investment and development.

More generally, the creation of the design centre has already lifted the area. Extensive public realm improvements have been made and some new residential blocks of market housing were completed around the perimeter of the re-development zone whilst Cité Du Design was being constructed.

The Platin building is a single storey structure, which sits in front of the original buildings. It has an innovative and adaptive exterior skin, which is a key element in achieving energy efficiency. It has a High Quality Environment rating. This 195 metres x 32 metres building includes the exhibition spaces, a greenhouse, a library and research area and a 300-seat auditorium as well as the reception and shop space.

The second new building is a 31 metres high Observatory. The steel structure has 100 metres of platform surface area.

The administrative staff of the school and the design centre, live work studios for visiting design professionals and students and meeting rooms are housed in the Clock Building (Bâtiment d‘Horlage).This is the most altered of the original suite of buildings internally and has been restored to pristine condition externally.

The two buildings occupied by the School for teaching and practical work have been restored to prime condition but are internally little altered as the large, light floor areas were very suitable for the new uses.

A major current question through 2010 is what happens to the biggest building in the Manufacture Des Armes cluster. Known as the Bâtiment H (H Building) this will be used for the Biennale in November 2010 but may be sold to investors subsequently as Saint Etienne Metropole, which now owns the site, needs to raise money.

Even excluding the funding for the School, which was carried forward from its previous location, the combined cost of the Cité Du Design and Biennale is over four million euros a year and over 75 per cent of this is currently coming from Saint Etienne Ville and Metropole.

The principal funding for the capital scheme split as follows:
Saint Etienne Ville and Metropole combined  43 million euros
Rhône-Alpes Region: 5 million euros
French Ministry of Culture: 6.3 million euros
European Union: 7 million euros

Aurelie Zimmermann is the spokesperson for Cité Du Design. She says “most of the Manufacture site closed 20 years ago and was closed off. The whole area had little public flow but now we have moved the focus of the city in this direction and there is interest in new development.”

The construction of the scheme took four years. At the opening Maurice Vincent, who became mayor in 2008, said “the Cite Du Design will be one of the assets our district will have to consolidate its identity on both national and international scales and will emphasize what we can expect from design in terms of economic and employment renewal. Our whole city is concerned by this pioneer strategy and its different impacts.”

The International Biennale in 2010 will open on 20 November and close on 5 December. The theme is Téléportation and the general curator is Constance Rubini.
 
Cité Du Design is open to individual visitors six days a week (closed Mondays unlike most cultural attractions in France which are shut on Tuesdays) and there are usually three exhibitions to see. The opening major exhibition, which continues till September 2010 is provocatively titled ‘Who’s Afraid of Design.’ There is a tram stop named after Cité Du Design at the entrance. It is 10 minutes by tram from Gare Chateaucreux.
© 2010 Brian Baker and City Mayors

Comment on this article
Read comments


Cité du Design includes the renovation of some of the site’s historic buildings, as well as newly integrated facilities.


On other pages
Dubai and Shanghai examples of wasteful urban development
The danger of treating climate change only as a man-made phenomenon that impacts nature’s systems is that it posits the problem in some distant remoteness and absolves all of us of immediate responsibility. The facts tell us that three-quarters of the carbon dioxide in the world, which is the biggest greenhouse gas, is emitted by cities. Dubai and Shanghai are models that ought to be avoided, as they are examples of environmentally wasteful urban development.

One has only to remember that half the population of the globe is urban today. Half this carbon dioxide is contributed by buildings, which need to heat or cool their interiors; the rest is generated by motorised transport, which is growing exponentially in this country. This puts quite a different spin on climate change: it locates the problem squarely in our midst, as urban-dwellers. More