The ‘Urban Forest’ is an attempt to grow a city and can be understood as an ‘urban ecology’ organized around seven distinct principles designed together to produce a critical urban density. The proposal outlines the criteria necessary to work with the forecasted urban growth of cities like Grenoble which, in Europe’s evolving and mobile economy, need to compete for both business and people. It is a claim to increase the size of the city vertically from the ground up.

The ‘Urban Forest’ takes advantage of the twofold potential of ‘vertical housing’ and a smaller scale colonization of the ground as a transformation and growth strategy. Anchored in the post industrial character of the site, the project’s principal aim is to satisfy the needs and desires of the inhabitants of the 21st century.

The question of housing is resolved through a marked diversity of living typologies and the innovative stacking of related requirements like car parking, collective gardens and leisure/work program in not one, but many tall structures. The multiplication of tall structures provide one of the best solutions to the diversification of the housing market. The ‘colonization’ of the ground into a lively street which can accommodate both dense and diverse programs, and public/private gardens will generate the conditions for urban life.

Location: Grenoble, FR
Year: 2000
Competition: First Prize
Site: 14 ha
Program: 1,700 housing units, 50,000 m2 mixed use 2500 parking places
Client: City of Grenoble and Europan
Associates: Studio Engleback, Tunbridge Wells
Engineer: Battle McCarthy, Consulting Engineers