The Île de la Cité can appear to be just another timeless part of Paris, untouched for centuries, to be preserved as it is and has always been. In reality, it is a relatively recently remodeled space, one of the least successful of the undertakings of George-Eugène Haussmann while he was Prefect of the Seine. It is, I believe, one of Paris’s major twenty-first century urban planning challenges, one that will play a critical role in signaling what kind of city Paris is to become.
Continue reading Time to Transform the Île de la Cité?
The new Batignolles neighborhood is going up in the north-west of Paris. Well before the rest of the area is ready, the City of Paris has opened up a public park, the Parc Martin Luther King. Although it is in the middle of a construction site and vacant lots, with the buildings that would presumably provide its patrons not even built yet, this park is already vibrant and lively, completely appropriated by the residents of the area.
Continue reading Parc Clichy-Batignolles – Martin Luther King
Construction begins this week on the new Place de la République, a project 150 years in the making.
At 300 yards by 130 yards, the Place de la République is one of the largest squares in Europe. But its lay-out has been a problem that has bedeviled urban designers since Gabriel Davioud was first entrusted with its design in the 1860s.
Continue reading Place de la République
The Bercy neighborhood is frequently used an example of successful contemporary urban planning. One of its successes it to have created a real neighborhood out of nothing on an initially unpromising site. But the other, perhaps more distinctive characteristic of this operation is to have created an urban form which is highly ordered yet diverse, modern yet still recognizably in the tradition of Parisian urban design. It was worth telling the story of this exemplary urban project.
Continue reading The New Bercy Neighborhood
[Note: this is the 4th and final part of a series. If you have not yet read them, you may want to first read Part 1: The Launch, Part 2: The International Consultation, and Part 3: Moving To Implementation]
On October 10, 2011, President Nicolas Sarkozy was back at the Cité de l’Architecture for what had by now become a tradition of a biennial visit. He summarized where Le Grand Paris stood:
Continue reading Le Grand Paris – Part 4: Where Things Stand
[Note: this is part 3 of a series. If you have not yet read them, you may want to first read Part 1: The Launch and Part 2: The International Consultation]
On April 29th, 2009, the day of the opening of the public display of the work of the ten teams of the international consultation, President Sarkozy gave a speech. His words were ambitious: “[The future city] may be the greatest political challenge of the twenty-first century. I want France to meet that challenge. I want France to give the example. That is the ambition of Le Grand Paris.“
Continue reading Le Grand Paris – Part 3: Moving to Implementation
[Note: this is part 2 of a series. If you have not yet read it, you might want to start with Part 1: The Launch]
After ten months of work, the output of the international consultation on Le Grand Paris was presented to President Sarkozy on March 13th, 2009. Continue reading Le Grand Paris – Part 2: The International Consultation
Anyone could be forgiven for being confused about what is going on with Le Grand Paris, Nicolas Sarkozy’s presidential ambition to reinvent Greater Paris for the future. This week, Sarkozy gave a speech at the Cité de l’Architecture marking four years since his initial speech, in the same venue, announcing Le Grand Paris. A perfect opportunity for a summary of where we stand. Continue reading Le Grand Paris – Part 1: The Launch
Until October 2nd, 2011, the Pavillon de l’Arsenal is presenting Architecture 80, a “metropolitan chronicle” of architectural events in the 1980s.
Continue reading Paris in the 80s
Of all the museums and exhibition spaces in Paris, there is one that is exemplary but whose existence most visitors to Paris will never suspect.
Located between the Place de la Bastille and the Île Saint-Louis, the Pavillon de l’Arsenal occupies a small building built in 1879 that used to serve to store artwork and then functioned as a warehouse. Since 1988, this space has been used by the city to show the results of architecture and urban design competitions, to present thematic exhibitions on Paris, to hold conferences and participative events, and a number of other things. Its official name is the Center for Architecture and Urbanism Information, Documentation and Exhibition of the City and Metropolis of Paris. Continue reading Pavillon de l’Arsenal