Bobigny Memorial Park

Bobigny France

A place of memory
Bobigny Station was built in 1928 and served as a freight and passenger hub. During the German occupation of France, Jewish people were deported from this station to the concentration camps. After the war, the site sat unused until the French Railway Company (SNCF) leased the site to a steel scrap dealer until 2005. Since then, the site has become a historical monument. The City of Bobigny and several partners have set out to create a place of remembrance by preserving the site’s heritage while enhancing the historical and symbolic value of the area.

Context and placemaking
The design of Bobigny Station sets to contribute to placemaking and the surrounding context by making visible the events of the past – to reconcile the memory of the deportation station within the urban context. The project restores a missing presence in the city through symbolism and introspective experiences. By setting an intentionally-slow pace down the sloping platform, re-levelling striking vistas, and providing meaningful, interactive pause moments, the design imbues the visitor with emotions and memories from the past.


Scenographic route

The new reception building, designed by AAPP architectes, serves as the starting and ending point of the visitor’s route, connecting the site with the surrounding city. Visitors enter the site through the Esplanade of the present, a park-like route with benches describing the history of the place. To restore the historical route taken by the deportees, part of the higher elevation area was excavated. Upon reaching the bottom, visitors enter the Space of Memory, where the historical elements of the landscape are located. The route then leads along the historical passenger building, crossing the rails towards a row of 74 columns representing and naming the convoys to Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Continuing along the post-war concrete wall, engraved with the words “Si l’écho de leur voix faiblit, nous perirons” by Paul Eluard, which translates to “If the echo of their voice fades, we will perish,” visitors arrive at the central point, the historical goods station, from where the deportations departed. In front of the goods station, a new platform the size of one goods wagon has been placed on the rails. This serves as the new location for commemorations and events. Visitors complete the route by crossing the rails again via the pathway to the entrance building. Great attention has been given to creating a place that preserves its historical character while remaining accessible to a broad audience. Additionally, a strong focus was placed on enhancing existing biodiversity. A wild garden on the southwest side acts as a natural buffer for the surrounding areas.


Living heritage
Bobigny Station is unique in that it is home to several regionally significant pioneer plant species. After the war, access to the site was limited, which allowed for nature to take over. Our design showcases the site’s ecological qualities with a targeted maintenance plan, strengthening the already rich biodiversity present on the site. The natural qualities of Bobigny Station will contribute to the area’s urban ecology by maintaining lush, vegetative buffers and increasing the amount of pollinator-friendly plants. Stormwater is infiltrated and conveyed through vegetated swales that run along the site.