ÈRE 21: a transition-themed project beside the Loire

Published on 13 February 2020 - Updated 04 January 2021
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The POLAU-arts & urban planning centre, finalist in the call for innovative urban proposals “Devenir Tours”, has designed an initiative around the A10 motorway interchange, dubbed ÈRE 21. Comprising two signature buildings set amidst greenery, the project is geared wholly towards the theme of transitions – in terms of energy, climate and territory. Talks are in progress to finalise the project in its entirety.

A hub of interconnecting parts

Junction 21 of the A10 interchange where the ÈRE 21 project is located is a unique site within the Tours urban area:   

  • it lies at the gateway of Tours city centre, neighbouring the nearby municipality  Saint-Pierre-des-Corps;
  • it is both a motorway junction and a busy corridor for cyclists on the Loire à vélo cycle path;
  • it is where the old canal station once stood, which used to connect the Loire to the River Cher;
  • it comprises a green space, a road and direct access to the Loire.

Between buildings and gardens

The ÈRE 21 project unfolds around two landmarks. A “Loire parliament”, i.e. a public forum for interpretation and debate on subjects to do with the river and transitions.  

And a “platform for recycling different mobility forms”, i.e. a circular timber parking area (you go in by car and go out by bike), overlooked by modular offices and housing next-generation local businesses on the ground floor (with a cooperative supermarket and a bike café for example).  

Both of these buildings will be set within greenery (comprising six landscaped gardens), connected to the riverbanks and offering a different type of accommodation (Loire cabins for cyclists riding along the Loire à vélo trail), a panoramic viewpoint for looking out over the Loire and an artistic symbol visible from the motorway.  

The first measures carried out on the site (events, temporary constructions, flexible layouts) will provide means of testing out the uses made and of adjusting the programme accordingly. 

A collective effort

ÈRE 21, designed like an urban laboratory, came about thanks to a collective, partnership-based effort which made it possible to combine resources and means of all kinds.  

The partnerships with Mission Val de Loire, the École de la Nature et du Paysage de Blois-INSA Centre Val de Loire and Université de Tours will pave the way to content and activities designed with residents, local users and visitors in mind.  

The future project

That said, some details still need to be finalised to ensure the project’s feasibility:  

  • the scope of the consultations (broaden the process to include Saint-Pierre-des-Corps)
  • the scope of the project, depending on the fate of the drinking water transformation plant
  • the legal and economic feasibility of the operation 
  • the ownership transfer terms

Find out more at:  http://polau.org/etudes-urbaines/ere21/     

“Devenir Tours” innovative call for proposals

In early 2019, the City of Tours launched the call for innovative urban proposals “Devenir Tours”, the aim being to place users at the heart of the city’s future development. 

It bore on 8 symbolic sites. 68 bids were considered admissible and 29 finalists were selected.  

With this call for proposals, three goals have been achieved: 

  • Involving civil society
  • Mobilising local, national and international professionals
  • Programme innovation

4 key themes emerged from the various bids.  

  • The ecological transition, which stood out as a central concern
  • New forms of mobility, which feature prominently in these calls for proposals.
  • A sense of community living, which was also a shared ambition.
  • The diversity of programmes submitted, which can only raise the profile of the City of Tours.


© ABFPM / Olivier Sampson


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