Posts tagged with "Paris":

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Bjarke Ingels to design Galeries Lafayette on Paris’ Champs-Élysées

With its first commission for a retail project, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) will design the new flagship store for Galeries Lafayette on the prestigious Champs-Élysées in Paris. “It has to be, somehow, the biggest concept store that has been built on the Champs-Élysées,” said Nicolas Houzé, chief executive officer of Galeries Lafayette. To give an impression of the size of the project, BIG's renovation will see Galeries Lafayette occupy some 75,350 square feet, a tenth of the size of the chain's outlet on the Haussmann Boulevard. Speaking to Business of Fashion, Ingels was eager to note that the Art Deco heritage of the building would be maintained, paying respect to the established architectural aesthetic that is a recurring feature within the vicinity. “We are inheriting a big, beautiful building that has been there for a century. So we are mostly moving around within it and playing with elements that have already been established. And I think it is going to feel like a joyful and playful environment for people to shop,” said Ingels. BIG is set to install an "observatory" that will allow visitors to look down the avenue. Also included will be a "circus" which makes use of a translucent flooring system and an “infinite vitrine” that will display Melvin Sokolsky’s black-and-white photographs of models seemingly floating inside bubbles. With regard to the renovation of a concealed skylight, Ingels pointed out that this would not be a simple copy of similar light at the Haussmann Boulevard. “We’re taking that element and letting it bleed out across the store, so that the lighting behaves in a similar way as when the clouds move over Paris.”
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Architects propose a Ferris wheel hotel in Paris, and it might actually happen

French architecture firm SCAU has designed a "water wheel hotel" on the Seine River, currently under consideration in Paris. During its six-month installment, people would be able to sleep in the slowly moving hotel for 300 euros a night. The water wheel structure would be built of wood and only take four days to assemble, meaning the hotel can easily be re-erected elsewhere. SCAU architects, Maxime Barbier and Luc Delamain, are working with officials in both Paris and Bordeaux. Barbier told the Telegraph, “They’re interested in the project but there are a lot of formalities first, especially in Paris. In Bordeaux they’re very enthusiastic and there’s less red tape.” Paris authorities are striving to lower traffic pollution and create more cultural activities around the river, making the "water wheel hotel" a strong consideration. The Seine River, would charge the batteries that turn the hotel two complete rotations per hour, giving the nineteen, 12-foot cylindrical pods slowly changing views. The barge alongside the hotel is designed to house a bar and restaurant for guests waiting to access their rooms, although the wait is designed to be at most 30 minutes. Barbier said the hotel "will offer a new way to contemplate the city, sometimes from the level of the river and then from the level of the rooftops.” The proposed wheel is 98.4 feet in diameter, a quarter the size of the London Eye and 16.4 feet taller than the average building in central Paris. The pods would be soundproofed and have fire prevention systems similar to Eurostar trains.
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If at first you don’t succeed: Jean Nouvel’s leaning towers of Paris gets planning approval after initial rejection

After an initial rejection by officials from the Paris Council, French architect Jean Nouvel has been awarded planning permission for his firm's so-called Duo Tower project on the Eastern banks of the Seine. Located in the Quartier De La Gare district of Paris, the project follows on the heels of another pyramidal tower by Herzog & De Meuron planned for the city. Since Paris has dropped its construction height limit, the project is one of the first to be jumping on the high-rise bandwagon. Taking advantage of the new lack of restrictions, the taller tower will rise to 590 feet while the lower block will reach just over 400. Nouvel's towers have been a source of controversy in the French capital. A fierce opponent of Parisian high-rises, Mayor Patrice vowed to fight the scheme earlier in the year. Speaking to Le Parisien he said "I will attack this permit with a gracious solution." Unimpressed with the towers winning planning approval, he went to on to say, "the permit/license of construction was validated on the basis of a grossly false photomontage," arguing that the renders did not accurately portray the visual effect the building would have on the skyline. Touted to cost over $570 million, the mixed-use towers will provide over one million square feet—about 24 acres—of office space, and include a hotel, auditorium, restaurant, and retail area. Of this space, some will be accessible to the public with the restaurant offering views over Paris and along the river. Construction is set to begin next year with the project aiming to be complete by 2020.
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Today is World Architecture Day with an emphasis linking the built environment and climate—how are you celebrating?

Today is World Architecture Day. According to its organizers, the International Union of Architects (UIA), the theme of this year's World Architecture Day is architecture, building, and climate. Founded in 1948, the NGO is a coalition of national organizations representing approximately 1.3 million architects from 124 countries. The 2015 theme is a response to the United Nations' Climate Change Conference (COP21), held this year in Paris from November 30th to December 11th. On the first day of COP21, UIA will hold a conference to explore how thoughtful architecture and design can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Designers and architects will be asked to consider how design can be the central determining factors in a building's sustainability, and how cities can be transformed to better resist the effects of climate change. Conference panelists include Carin Smuts (CS Studio Architects), Pascal Gontier (Atilier Pascal Gontier), Manfred Hegger (HHS), and Kjetil Traedal Thorsen (Snøetta).
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Walk this way: Architecture firm NBBJ proposes a moving sidewalk to replace London Underground Circle line

Architectural firm NBBJ has proposed a new three-lane moving sidewalk (or for the Brits, a travelator) system to replace 17-miles of the London Underground in a bid to decrease travel times and transport more people around London. Earlier this year, a plans for a London underground bike complex was ridiculed by the Guardian in its attempt to reduce congestion despite it winning best conceptual project at the London Planning Awards. With that in mind, NBBJ have boldly chosen to submit their idea which would feature three moving walkways traveling at different speeds. The nearest walkway to an entry platform would travel at a leisurely three miles per hour, accelerating to 9mph in lit tunnels. The project's main advantage over the current rail-based system, designers claim, is that the walkway wouldn't have to stop at the station—the ever moving track being slow enough for people to hop on and hop off. The idea could have potential to be dangerous with the sheer mass of people it aims to take on, not to mention the cost implications this would have for Transport for London. Tearing up track and making the Circle line's dark and dingy tunnels safe (let alone nice) to walk down would be no mean (or cheap) feat. Moving walkways do already exist in the London Underground system, in fact they have been present at Bank station for 55 years. NBBJ's proposal can also be seen as following on from the Trottoir roulant rapide ("fast moving walkway") at the Métro station Montparnasse-Bienvenüe in Paris. Nicknamed the "TGV," the Parisian example failed to garner success in the French capital, as the the Paris metro has had to pay out injury compensation in several cases. According to the BBC, many users of the TGV quickly ran on the moving surface despite a loudspeaker barking orders of "keep your feet flat on the ground, keep your feet flat on the ground." The failed project was replaced by a more conventional walkway in 2009. The effectiveness of travelators is also up for debate. In 2009 (a bad year for travelators it seems) the Daily Telegraph reported that research about moving walkways in airports indicated they actually slowed people down and that the time advantage was minimal. NBBJ still advocates the health benefits of walking between stations that such a moving walkway system might provide.
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Meet the architect behind Kanye West’s 50-foot volcano, Los Angeles mansion, and design-savvy baby-proofing

Ironically, there are few surer ways to emerge from obscurity than to be hired by Kanye West. For Romanian architect Oana Stanescu, who designed a 50-foot stage-prop volcano for the rapper’s Yeezus tour, it meant finding a way to reconcile pop culture with utilitarian design. Stanescu and her partner Dong Ping-Wong, of New York–based design firm Family, recently completed the Hong Kong flagship store of Off White, a high-end streetwear brand founded by Virgil Abloh, West’s creative director. In a recent interview with the New York Times, Stanescu declined to reveal what other Yeezus-related projects are forthcoming, but she was reportedly hired to baby-proof and redesign the 9,000 square-foot, faux-French-Italian Los Angeles mansion the rapper shares with wife Kim Kardashian and daughter North West. As one of the designers behind the Kickstarter-backed +Pool project, which seeks to install a floating pool in the East River, Stanescu is persistently, if inadvertently, in the public eye. When queried about her name being dropped by the gossip tabloids after she designed West’s volcano, she pragmatically told the New York Times, “Design is at its best when it’s collaborative. I’m interested in pushing the boundaries of what architecture can do.” West made an appearance at +Pool’s Fall Swim Benefit in at Jane’s Carousel in Dumbo to support Stanescu’s project, set to be the world’s first water-filtering pool when it opens in 2017. The plus-shaped pool can reportedly clean 500,000 gallons or river water per day. Meanwhile, Stanescu has been photographed accompanying West on architectural field trips to seek inspiration for his pared-down Paris home, where she is adding a baby room. But she is not the only top designer West has consorted with—the rapper has also consulted household names Dirand, Vervoordt and Tristan Auer, neglecting an unspoken competitive code of conduct in the design world. “Right now Kanye is just sponging things up, observing how these people work,” Stanescu told W magazine. The architect first met West when he hired Rem Koolhaas’ Office of Metropolitan Architecture, where Stanescu used to work, to design a viewing pavilion for his short film Cruel Summer at the Cannes Film Festival 2012.
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First in 40 Years: After initial rejection, Herzog & de Meuron’s triangular skyscraper is set to break ground in Paris

Paris' city council ruling against the controversial Tour Triangle skyscraper back in 2014 was just overturned by the same governmental body. Mayor Anne Hidalgo approved of the jagged, triangular, Herzog & de Meuron–designed tower and has said she looks forward to the opportunities it will bring to the French capital. During construction, an estimated 5,000 workers will be employed and another 5,000 employees are predicted to occupy what will be Paris' third-tallest structure. Tour Triangle will be Paris’ first skyscraper since Montparnasse in 1973. The Triangle, located in the Porte de Versailles neighborhood, promises amenities that will cater to both professionals and tourists alike within its 43 stories. The tower includes 70,000 square feet of office space for creative and tech start-up companies and another 24,000 square feet of co-working space. For vacationers and out-of-towners, the tower plans to build a 120-room hotel with a lower-level daycare and upper-level dining facilities. Take a look at a gallery of renderings below. All photos (Courtesy Tour Triangle)
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See the Grand Palais submerged in a virtual waterfall in 3D projection mapping design by Japanese art collective teamLab

Recently, Paris’ Grand Palais was awash in the cascade of a virtual waterfall, transforming the beaux-arts palace into a captivating scene from the lost city of Atlantis. TeamLab, a Japanese collective of technologists and artists, used 3D projection mapping to create the holographic play of light and shadow, while maintaining a fidelity to the laws of physics. The artists calculated the movement of the waterfall by creating a 3D model of the Grand Palais des Champs-Élysées in a virtual computer environment and allowing water to cascade over it. “The water is expressed as continuum of hundreds of thousand of water particles that flow in accordance with how the computer calculates the interaction of the particles,” teamLab explained in a post on its website. “Once an accurate water flow simulation has been constructed, 0.1 percent of the water particles are selected and lines drawn in relation to them. The waterfall is expressed as the combination of these lines.” The torrents of water fall with arresting slowness and are deflected as they “collide” with the silent statues and columns of the magnificent building. TeamLab, the brains behind Tokyo’s interactive hanging gardens and LED Christmas trees, programmed a slight time lag into the cascade as a nod to their Japanese ancestors, who perceived time and space as “on a longer axis.” The artists allege that only if one “does not feel a barrier between them and the waterfall,” or, in other words, cedes their full attention, can the viewer truly experience the artwork’s underlying intent. The projection mapping light show was created as part of the Art Paris Art Fair 2015.
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French law mandates green roofs or solar panels on all new buildings in commercial zones

It’s serious crunch time in France for environmental policymaking as regulations tighten in deference to the 2020 goal of reducing carbon emissions by 25 percent. Paris is also scrambling for brownie points as it prepares to host the UN Conference on Climate Change this November. Lawmakers in France recently decreed that all rooftops of new commercial buildings must be covered in either plants or solar panels. Other major cities have gone to similarly stringent lengths, with the city of Toronto, Canada, mandating green roofs on all new buildings in 2009—whether residential, industrial or commercial. Expected foliage cover ranges from 20 to 60 percent depending on the size and type of building, with residential dwellings less than six stories high exempt from the mandate. Green roofs are an apt counterweight to the urban island phenomenon, in which urban zones are found to be several degrees hotter than surrounding rural areas because of their concrete density relative to moist, permeable land and vegetation. On the other hand, green roofs create an “isolating effect” that cools the building, reducing energy needs for heating and cooling in winter and summer, and retain rainwater to reduce excess runoff and flood likelihood. A green roof also bodes $200,000 in savings over its lifetime, according to researchers at Michigan State University. French environmental activists had initially lobbied for far less leniency, calling for every roof on every new building to be entirely covered by plants, without the option of installing solar panels instead. The Socialist government sought a middle-ground appeasement, convincing activists to limit the law to commercial buildings. France still lags behind other European countries in terms of solar deployment, installing just 613 megawatts of solar photovoltaics in 2013, falling behind countries that had installed at least 1 gigawatt in previous years, according to a 2014 report by the European Photovoltaic Industry Association.
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Misplaced monuments: Designers take to Photoshop to transplant world landmarks in new locations

When it comes to a famous landmark, to what extent does locale add to its majesty? An inventive design competition posted to Australian virtual design studio DesignCrowd explored this question with a challenge to designers to reposition the world’s most hyped monuments in all-new locations using high-resolution images. Designers were tasked with making the extrication of the Big Ben look believable, inserting in its place the Sydney Opera House, the Eiffel Tower, or the Great Wall of China. The first-place accolade went to a Photoshop-aholic who had supplanted Moscow’s St. Basil’s Cathedral in place of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. Snagging second place was a seamless overlay of the Roman Colosseum where the Sydney Opera House had once stood. Meanwhile, another designer made the Sydney Opera House seem a natural addition to the Thames riverfront overlooked by the London Eye. Another creative effort saw the Hollywood sign superimposed on the hills along which the Great Wall of China undulates. The design brief, posted to the crowdsourced graphic design bidding site, received 92 designs from 25 designers.
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An architect from Vancouver wants to build the world’s tallest wooden skyscraper over a roadway in Paris

Back in March, AN wrote about Rüdiger Lainer and Partners' plan to construct a wood skyscraper in Vienna. The so-called HoHo project would rise 276 feet and be about three-quarters wood. Now, Vancouver-based architect Michael Green, whose eponymous firm is behind “the tallest mass timber building in the United States” has proposed a timber tower for Paris that would be 10 stories taller—making it the tallest such structure on earth. That is, if it gets built. The tower is part of a mixed-use scheme called "Baobab" that Michael Green Architecture (MGA), along with Paris-based DVVD and developer REI France, submitted to Réinventer Paris—a city-sponsored competition that asked architects to propose "innovative urban projects" at one of 23 sites across town. MGA and its teammates went with Pershing, an under-utilized site that the competition says "will be at the heart of the Porte Maillot renewal operation, a strategic part of Greater Paris, linking the central business district with La Défense.” Along with the wood tower, which MGA says is carbon neutral, Baobab has a mix of market-rate and subsidized housing, a hotel for students, agricultural facilities, a bus station, and an e-car hub. The development would span across an eight-lane roadway. “Our goal is that through innovation, youthful social contact and overall community building, we have created a design that becomes uniquely important to Paris,” said Michael Green, Principal of MGA, in a statement.  “Just as Gustave Eiffel shattered our conception of what was possible a century and a half ago, this project can push the envelope of wood innovation with France in the forefront. The Pershing Site is the perfect moment for Paris to embrace the next era of architecture.” Shortlisted proposals are expected to be announced this summer, so we will have to wait until then to see if Baobab has a chance of taking shape. [h/t CBC News]
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Paris pushes for car-free River Seine quayside park as anti-pollution measures tighten

In keeping with Paris’ mounting aversion to automobiles, Mayor Anne Hidalgo recently announced plans to bar motorists from the banks of the River Seine by summer 2016. This latest blow to motorists occurs in tandem with the all-or-nothing anti-pollution target Hidalgo set last year of banning all non-electric or hybrid vehicles from Paris’ most polluted streets by 2020. Renderings for the futuristic River Seine project a motor-free parkland consisting of a tree-shaded promenade with space for children’s playgrounds and sports facilities. The length of this promenade is TBD, with some proposals occupying a modest 0.9 miles, while others insist on a 2.05-mile car-free quayside, potentially freeing up 1.4 acres of parkland. “All of this is part of a comprehensive policy in which we assume very deliberately that there will be fewer cars in Paris,” Hidalgo told reporters at a press conference. “Therefore, in calculating the flow of spillover traffic I don’t project myself into a world where there are as many cars as today. Objectively, that will no longer be the case.” The Seine has a distinctive double-tiered embankment that has allowed it to moonlight as a motorists’ artery into the city center without detracting from the romance of the riverscape. The upper embankment sits at street level, and has remained a scenic promenade dotted with quaint booksellers’ stalls. The lower embankment, where the roads traverse, is at water level and is sunken below high walls, with sections of road encased in tunnels. The City of Paris began reclaiming the Seine in 2002 under the "Paris Plages" program, when it closed down sections of the quayside to create a temporary summer beach complete with real sand and sun loungers. In 2013, the city barred cars permanently from a long stretch of the Left Bank to create a waterside park. According to the mayor, the city’s slow assail on motorways is part of  “an urban, almost philosophical project which consists of seeing the city in another way than through the use of cars.” In Hidalgo's car-cutting schemes along the Seine are also architected toward freeing up the Georges Pompidou Highway on the North side, part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.