1999 - 2000

Zone Sweet Zone

Bordeaux outskirts

Zone Sweet Zone is a work of research and experimentation carried out between 1999 and 2000 and presented as part of Yvan Detraz’s architecture diploma in June 2000 at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture et de Paysage in Bordeaux.

Zone Sweet Zone questions the future of the abandoned spaces of the Bordeaux urban area and their capacity to reinvent the notion of public space in a suburban environment.

This research is based on a two-fold observation, the result of a mapping survey carried out in situ : on the one hand, a lack of structuring public spaces and, on the other, an abundance of neglected spaces resulting from contemporary urbanization processes.
The result is a proposal for the creation of a matrix of public spaces – the “Common Lands” – on the scale of the urban area, integrating part of the neglected spaces and focusing on their spatial, landscape and use potential. 

In 2019, we will use the name “Terres Communes” (“Common Lands”) to designate the suburban trail imagined to walk around the Bordeaux outskirts.


In the summer of 1999, during an exploratory walk of 3 months and 900 km, Yvan Detraz set out to locate and map the abandoned areas and paths of the Bordeaux periphery. The challenge was to immerse himself in this invisible reality, to show the abundance and diversity of these fragments of space and to reveal their potential for continuity and urban structuring.

This precursory and founding work allowed us to imagine the concepts of Suburban Walks, Suburban Picnics and Suburban Shelters. Three projects proposing to experiment a new use of the urban outskirts.


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At the crossroads of art, territories and populations, our approach aims to promote the transition to sustainable, shared and welcoming cities, by proposing alternative ways of imagining and building our living environment and by exploring new forms of public space.