«Les îles de la vie» – The Island of Life

2015 Urban Design Competition and Test Planning AGGLOlac, Biel and Nidau, 4th Place

Energy standard


Contract type / Realisation

Competition 2013 / Testplanning 2014-15

Building typology

Urban development



Project description

The aims of „Les îles de la vie“ are to connect Nidau and Biel/Bienne in terms of urban space and to let it flow towards the lake, to offer a large public green space by the lake and to integrate the protected objects. Accordingly, various „îlots“ (block edges) are proposed with a basic height of five floors and orientation towards the lake. Shadow analysis has shown that eight rows of buildings in an east-west direction are optimal for the quality of the quarter. The project offers a very spacious public green area along the lake, the lakeside park, which extends from the shore far into the quarter.
The „îlots“ form a funnel-shaped open space and create a second connection between the lakeside area and the urban space next to the castle channel. This connection creates square spaces, which simultaneously formulate central locations in the quarter. The individual „îlots“ are specifically designed and their communal open spaces are open to the public. The use concentration and the relatively high density along Dr. Schneider-Strasse transforms into a promenade. At the same time, the axis of Dr. Schneider-Strasse forms an urban “spine” with a clear reference to Biel.
The different situations of the open space structure originate from the existing buildings. An open-space staging of the castle is created by a funnel-like space that connects the city of Nidau to the lakeside park.
A strong volumetric and programmatic density along the promenade is proposed by means of the front buildings of the „îlots“ and by a high-rise building. All buildings along the promenade have arcades. The individual „îlots“ comprise a combination of different types of buildings. The high-rise building has 15 floors, the front buildings have eight floors, the standard buildings – five floors and the town houses inside the quarter – three floors.