Basic Layout Glossary

POC Glissière en Béton Armé

Basic Layout Glossary

Anti-parking or anti-terrorist, reinforced concrete barriers have invaded the city. To a greater or lesser degree, these large bricks stigmatise urban areas in reconstruction like hyper centres. Being quite difficult to handle, they are often leftbehind in between different usages. In an attempt to make the most out of them, citizens turn them into benches or walls to bounce balls …


The EcoNeighbourhood of the Union between the cities of Roubaix and Tourcoing is subject to a major restructuring operation over a period of fifteen years, where newly installed businesses, new inhabitants and constructions coexist … In this in-between, spaces in transition give very often place to unwanted practices : illegal parking, arrival of caravans … reinforced concrete barriers are part of the arsenal used by planners to secure these spaces.

SEM Ville Renouvelée, together with the graphic design studio Bien-vu,hypothesise that an intervention on the concrete barriers could, at the very least, add an aesthetic quality, bring up new socially useful practices, attract new uses and bring us together… 

Always open !

A first installation on the esplanade of the Plaine Image à l’Uniontransforms these protective barriers into colourful playgrounds. The concrete barriers used to close spaces are integrated into a vivid graphic reinterpretation of the ground markings of sports fields, transfiguring the barriers and transforming them into targets for improvised ball games. Thus the area delimited between two barriers becomes useful, playful and open, an “Always Open“ playground!

How might this outcome be pursued in order to fully answer SEM’s hypothesis, suggest alternative uses that remain movable, design graphics that make sense regardless of where the barriers are arranged in the city … How might these barriers turn into a Basic Layout Glossary that unites instead of only dividing? Project to follow!

  • Project holders : Ville Renouvelée-Plaine Images
  • Designers : Atelier Bien-vu
  • Realisation : Coopérative culturelle groupe A
  • Photo credits : Atelier Bien-vu