James Guitet

Urbanisme côtier, 1965

James Guitet joined the GIAP (Groupe International d’Architecture Prospective) at its founding in 1965. In addition to house projects, he developed a singular approach to coastal urbanism. In opposition to traditional linear urban planning, Guitet arranged housing units discontinuously, setting them back from the shoreline to avoid allowing the “seafront” effect to form a screen between land and water. “The ‘cutting edge plan’ allows for the maximum possible visibility on the site,” the artist-architect explained. His “Coastal Village,” comprises a large, air-conditioned hotel resort and a cultural and commercial complex for 5,000 vacationers, organized in a star-shape plan with three branches. Each branch opens onto a large patio and culminates with a lighthouse-tower. The top of each tower is crowned with a helicopter landing pad. The individual domed pods, each hooked to a central weight-bearing mast, are reminiscent of the projects designed by the Japanese Metabolists, Arthur Quarmby and Arata Isozaki. The plan contributes to the conservation of the surrounding terrain, which can be developed for leisure facilities, sports fields, games and religious activities. The development of the marina and the beach reflects the desire to echo the rhythm of the sea through its organization into terraces in undulating forms. And beyond the village itself, the infrastructure and means of access are included in the project: highway interchange, service station, as well as bus and train stations.

Nadine Labedade

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