Parc Marianne

Parc Marianne is part of a large 600 ha redevelopment project south east of Montpellier’s historical centre. The Parc Marianne Nord eco-district project (the first part of the Parc Marianne project) covers 7 hectares area on the northern end of Parc Charpak – a park constructed not only to provide the neighbourhood with a vast green area but also to double as a flood basin for the seasonal extreme rain events. The development consists of 21 buildings arranged in ‘ilots’ (land parcels surrounded by greenery) which are meant to provide maximum access to greenspace for residents. 

Dates of completion2006-2013 (Parc Marianne Nord)
Surface Area70,000 m²
Localization Montpellier, France
Project Description16 defined lots (ilots) with 21 buildings
820 dwellings
14,040 m² of commercial space
2 new primary schools
Certification Awarded « EcoQuartier 2001 » prize in the “global ecological approach” categoryAwarded “EcoQuartier” label in 2015


The development of the Parc Marianne eco-district is the direct result of the ‘city building’ vision that began in the 1970’s when the City realized that the population growth in the region was going to steadily increase. Politicians and planners foresaw that where the newcomers settled, was going to have a permanent influence on the livability of both the City of Montpellier and its surrounding region. Advancing a vision that had been established long before, the Parc Marianne development embraced ‘new’ design concepts guided by the principles of sustainable development. This new district, destined to be at the centre of the new Montpellier Agglomeration, was designed to respect ‘natural’ corridors (green and blue belts). Built in between two rivers and respecting the green space surrounding them, Parc Marianne is also constructed at the intersection of two key transportation corridors and in particular at the crossroad of 2 tramlines. Its positioning is also meant to be the gateway of the ‘route de la mer’ (road to the sea)– a transportation corridor that parallels the Lez river and includes the Boulevard Raymond Dugrand, a tram line and a cycling/walking path, all which  connect Montpellier with the Mediterranean Sea.


The City of Montpellier acquired the land for the new Parc Marianne district and subsequently handed over the responsibility of developing the land to the Société d’Equipement de la Région de Montpellier (SERM), a public/private enterprise. Following a competition, Architectural Studio (as lead architect but working together two other architectural firms-  Imagine and Traverse) was selected as the ‘Maitre d’Oeuvre’ to provide a conceptual plan of the new Parc Marianne development district as well play the role of project coordinator for the construction of the first ‘sub-district’ – Parc Marianne Nord. The project was then divided up into individual parcels (ilots), of one or two buildings. While each parcel had a different architect/developer team who designed, built and sold the units in each parcel, Architectural Studio retained responsibility for coordinating the overall Parc Marianne Nord project ensuring that all those involved respected the design guidelines that had been established by their firm and approved by the City and the SERM.

Sustainable Development

A unique sustainability aspect of Parc Marianne is that the design of the eco-district was overlaid on the landscape masterplan where the ‘green and blue corridors’ established the development grid. The existing rivers, park (doubling as a drainage basin) and heritage trees provided the stencil around which the subsequent buildings were constructed. In addition, the building sites were  superimposed on the grid in such a way as to both maximize access to and preserve the natural environment. The transportation grid provided another point of reference. The development area was strategically positioned at the crossroads of two tramlines and includes an extensive pedestrian and bike network. The intention, of course, was that this location limits the residents need for a car and reduces vehicle traffic. A sustainable and efficient district energy system (using locally sourced wood waste) provides the majority of energy needs to development. Not only is the energy supplied to the buildings considered sustainable but the buildings themselves exceed energy efficiency standards (at the time the buildings were being designed) and integrate renewable energy technologies such solar hot water and/or PV panels on their roofs to supplement their energy needs.

Researchers working on this project

Dominica Babicki