Longwy, ‘Tour de ville’ project
Surface area inside the fortified city: 15ha
Contracting authority: commune of Longwy
Implementation: 20 years
Number of inhabitants (INSEE 2011): 14,628
Contractor: Philippe Prost Architectural firm
Study carried out by 2009
A phoenix-like town
The new town built from scratch by Vauban, 30 kilometres from Luxembourg City, is located on the edge of a plateau overlooking the Chiers valley.
It was destroyed during the war in 1914 and lost a third of its hexagonal shaped walls. The basic orthogonal urban pattern has nevertheless been preserved as well as most of the emblematic
buildings. The limits imposed by the city walls and non-constructible zones in the fortified town encouraged more urban sprawl in the valley during the 20th century, resulting in a bicephalous town, composed of Longwy-Haut and Longwy-Bas.
The project to re-conquer the fortified town
A decisive factor in the re-appropriation of its values was the commissioning of the City Circle study, the aim of which was to base a future project on the existing fortified heritage. The recommendations in the study were used extensively as a basis for the town planning regulations, in particular the redevelopment and programming operations.
The study tackled, amongst others, the issue of re-tracing the missing part of the fortified enclosure and redefining the image of the town based on the fortified heritage. For the destroyed part of the city’s enclosing walls, the recommendation was to restore landmarks to the urban fabric, through landscaping and urban redevelopment, enabling a better global
understanding of the space.
The reconstitution of the green belt around the town, linking existing parts with destroyed parts, aimed to gradually recolonise the whole of the stronghold, which would then become recognisable once more in its new urban and landscaped guise. The cordon of the buried fortification would no longer be a barrier,
as it once was, but the heart of an urban redevelopment project.
The City Circle project is a very good illustration of the argument for “preservation through development”. It outlines the need to be thinking as much in terms of protection as in terms of the project. The project’s implementation is much aided by its integration into local town planning regulations.