Les îles de la vie – the Island of Life

City quarter AGGLOlac, Biel and Nidau, 2013 urban planning ideas competition, 4th place (further processing, May 2014)

Energy standard


Contract type / Realisation

Competition 2013 / Test planning 2014

Building typology

Urban development



Project description

We are looking for people in their cultural permanence on a structural, economic and social level. Intergenerational persistence is the essence of a sustainable quarter. If neighbourhoods are meant to be sustainable, they must grow; integrate, react and strive for homogeneity. Once this happens, a healthy basis for identity formation emerges. Moderate, high-quality architecture on a tangible scale defines this place. „Les îles de la vie“ offers space for the social facets of the Biel_Nidau area integrates different generations, cultures and income levels. The integration into a multifaceted environment with many challenges is the starting point for „Les îles de la vie“.

Living environment

The ideal location of the new housing developments offers residents the opportunities to enjoy unique spaces and public open spaces of the adjacent „Parc du lac“ in the close neighbourhood. The open spaces of „L‘ile village“ and „L‘île centrale“ are designed for urban cohabitation and cultural exchange. The inner courtyard of l‘ìle central is a heart of the quarter, and the passage of „L‘île village“ invites social interaction by means of cafés and quarter shops. The elevated semi-private terraces serve for interaction between residents and their children on a smaller scale. The vines spanning the courtyards make a cozy atmosphere. The town housing estate of „L‘île grande“, which is closed off from the outside, is oriented inwards with its private outdoor spaces.
„Les îles de la vie“ offers both living and life. Shops, restaurants, post office / bank etc. are usual in inner-city quarters as well as office and service areas are within walking distance. The orientation to the water, the integration of the local recreation area, the internal supply infrastructure and the local centers within walking distance, provide the basis for the unique urban quality. Identity and familiarity are established. The considered high density of buildings with the mix of different lifestyles, generations and cultures sets the tone.
In „L`îÎe village“ and „L` île centrale“, the development is largely based on the time-tested perimeter block development of the early 19th century. The large form will be reduced to individual, smaller building units, whereby each of them is autonomous in its own way and thus also attractive for private investors. These upper floor areas are suitable for residential and commercial use (e.g. doctors‘ surgeries, other small office spaces). The ground floor provides space for shops and commercial and restaurant businesses, as well nurseries; the available rental space can also be increased on the courtyard side. However, the majority of the commercial space remains concentrated on the central Dr.-Schneider-Strasse. The arcades in the ground floor area ensure a weatherproof extension of the street space and enable spot extension of the retail space (outdoor sales). The interior of the perimeter block development offers the residents a (semi-)private open and green space, which enables individual appropriation. This offers space for playgrounds, seating or barbecue areas, flower fields, individual kitchen gardens and café areas.