This week I have written a guest post for the Project for Public Spaces’ blog. PPS sees the proactive approach Paris is taking with its public spaces as “fundamental to the future of cities.” Read the piece on the the PPS web site.
My piece on Seine Rive Gauche, billed as the largest urban project in Paris since Haussmann, generated a great deal of interest. This week I return to the area to check up on progress, and find development continuing along the whole length of the site.
This project is mobilizing considerable resources and is calling on France’s best architecture and urban design talents. Whatever one things of the design choices, it certainly represents a return to the spirit of urban ambition that made Paris what it is.
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.
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.
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