This study on the approaches to Saint-Pierre is the first step in an ambitious regional territorial development project titled “Saint-Pierre regional tourism zone”. The key challenge of this project is to restore Martinique’s cultural and economic balance while highlighting and bolstering the attractiveness of the north of the island. This mission represents the first engagement with this important cultural and economic issue. Saint-Pierre at one time enjoyed a reputation as a particularly dynamic city both culturally and economically, only to be obliterated by the 1902 volcanic eruption.
The aim is to “reawaken” Saint-Pierre. Totally destroyed, repeatedly deserted, forever scarred, it has retreated back within its former limits that it has never fully reoccupied. However, it has preserved the exceptional emotional strength of a once thriving mythical city that, perhaps here more than elsewhere, immerses us in “creoleness”. Saint-Pierre is the symbolic site most likely to trigger the imagination and emotion of an entire territory. Today, this emotional and memorial power can be tapped into to generate its own development and cultural vitality freed from the economic constraints of a major city.
The project is planned in two phases and based on three strong themes: links with the sea, the forest and people. The proposal presented here springs from the extraordinary energy that this site transmits. An energy that comes from the climate, the exuberant vegetation and the biodiversity that abounds in it, from the power of the hilly terrain, but also from the emotional power of the site’s history and the métis origins of its inhabitants. To respond to this mission to develop three approaches to the town of Saint-Pierre (East, North and South approaches) mission, our proposals derive more from the principles of “land art” than from landscaping strictly speaking. As a result, the proposed interventions are simple, recycling and revitalising familiar materials: tree trunks, boat masts, electricity poles placed on abandoned land, collapsed walls, deserted plots.