The town of Dreux wished to redefine the image of its centre by commissioning an environmental, urban and landscape study, supplemented by a traffic analysis and an analysis of cultural positioning. This process of reflection was punctuated by various meetings and consultations with community associations and residents.
The different scenarios proposed associated the image of the city in sites that are traditionally charged with meaning: a set of central public spaces around the Place Mésirard and an exceptional fabric of waterways made up of a flood meadow, canals, islands, oxbow lakes, sophisticated irrigation networks, wash houses that reveal economic activities based on water «expertise», and so on. Over the years, the Blaise river has driven the local economy with a concentration of economic, social and recreational buildings springing up along its course, making it into a trade hub on the old road to Brittany. As a link between the meadows and the hillside vineyards, the Blaise has always connected people.
Thus, enhancing the course of the river through the old fabric strongly guided the approach to the overall project. In this respect, the analysis of historical maps permitted to reveal the state of the properties and gardens along the river, near the former Place de Bonde, today known as Place Mésirard.
Like so many remarkable features embodying the memory of places, fountains, footbridges, railings, benches, lighting, amphitheatres of green and reed beds constitute the new vocabulary characterising the journey of the Blaise.
The study resulted in the launch of an ambitious programme that includes a media library, the renovation of the theatre, the restoration of a Louis XIII pavilion, the transformation of the Arsenal pavilion into a centre for contemporary art, the suppression of a surface car park and the creation of an indoor market.
The programme for a facility of this kind for the city, itself the centre of the greater urban community of Drouais, aims to showcase the cultural centre in the heart of town and beyond its geographical borders, while providing Drouais with a space of exchange and socialisation.