Posts tagged with "Paris":

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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.  
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Court reverses decision on French architect Jean Nouvel’s lawsuit against the Philharmonie de Paris

Celebrated French architect Jean Nouvel lost a court case in which he sued the Philharmonie de Paris for removal of his name from the project due to major deviations from his original design. The court, which ruled in his favor on April 16 pending “additional detailed and comparative information,” reversed its decision hours later. The jury alleges that Nouvel failed to provide incriminating documentation to justify his claim that 26 parts of the 2,400-seat auditorium, whose January 15 inauguration he boycotted, had strayed from his design. These key elements include parapets, foyers, facades, promenades, and acoustic elements of the performance hall. The court said the documents he provided "do not allow the court to assess the work asked for in its definitive state, both globally and in detail," and the court was thus unable to rule whether the work had been "adulterated.” Nouvel also sued on the grounds that his firm, Ateliers Jean Nouvel, was not liable for the nearly doubled costs due to delays and allegedly radical departure from the design proposal.
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Electricity-generating Wind Trees will power Paris’ Place de la Concorde

The power grid of the future may consist entirely of trees—and we don’t mean biofuel. French R&D company New Wind recently pioneered the “wind tree,” a wind turbine that is both silent and soothing to behold. While wind turbines are ordinarily thought to be noisy and unsightly, the “Arbre à vent” developed by French entrepreneur Jerôme Michaud-Larivière resembles modern art’s sculptural interpretation of a tree. The biomorphically-inspired contraption features 72 electricity-generating leaves oriented vertically along a white steel frame approximating tree branches.   Made of lightweight plastic treated with element-resistant resin, the leaves can harness winds as light as 4.4 miles per hour, enabling the turbine to continue generating power for 280 days per year, factoring in climate vacillations. Despite this keen sensitivity, the turbine is designed to withstand Category 3 gusts (wind speeds of up to 129 miles per hour). At 26-by-36 feet the “wind tree” is no taller than the average tree, and camouflages with the landscape instead of being a looming presence. Each rotating leaf contains a generator with a capacity of 3.1 kilowatts of electricity—a modest amount, but a streetscape lined with wind trees could rack up enough juice to power all nearby street lights or a small apartment, according to EarthTechling. The circuitry is wired in parallel and each generator is sealed in protective casing so that the breakdown of one leaf does not gum the system. Meanwhile, the company is replicating the plant-inspired design template in a scaled-down "wind bush" currently in the works and "foliage" as a  wind power catch-all on rooftops and balconies and along roadsides to power variable-message signs. From May through the following March, a demonstrator tree will be installed at the Place de la Concorde in Paris, a major public square, to introduce it to the general public, after which 40 more wind trees will be installed around the country. While prototypes have been installed on select private properties, the item will not be mass produced until summer 2016, and even then will be available only in France and nearby European countries. Each wind tree is slated to retail for approximately $36,500 apiece—slightly more expensive than the traditional 10-kilowatt turbine, which costs an average of $30,000 including installation.
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Paris Politicians Embroiled in Not So Secret Skyscraper Spat

Paris’ stringent urbanism laws triumphed yesterday in the city council’s vote to reject plans to build what would be the third tallest skyscraper in the city and the first such towering structure in over four decades. A breach of the secret ballot terms, however, has prompted socialist Mayor Anne Hidalgo to reject the vote after it came to light that opposition council members had revealed their decisions, with one official later tweeting a picture of himself brazenly holding his yellow ballot up in the air. “The law has not been respected,” said Hidalgo, who plans to present the matter to an administrative court. The proposed glass, pyramidal shaped building, designed by Herzog and de Meuron, would rise up to 590 feet in the 15th arrondissement, and become the third tallest after the Eiffel Tower (1,0653 ft) and the Montparnasse tower (686 ft). Those in favor of the so-called Tour Triangle argue that it will create 3,000 construction jobs and economic activity. The controversy surrounding the decision epitomizes the ongoing struggle plaguing new development in Paris: Whether architecture should be contextual to fit within the scale of the historic city or push the bounds. From this decision, it will likely be a slow march towards the latter.
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Parisian preschool stays light and airy with an undulating glass facade screen

French architecture firm H20 Architectes has given light to a nursery school sited in an unusually tight and narrow courtyard site in Paris. Located in the shadow of surrounding buildings, the new facility has been designed with a glass facade and corresponding shade canopy that appears to lift effortlessly at the front entrance, belying its rigid construction. The extension and renovation of Epée de Bois nursery school in Paris, which opened this year, has provided an airy space for 24 children and features a rooftop play area guarded by the crimped and undulating shade screen along the structure's parapet. The new envelope will let light penetrate into the interior of the preschool while achieving high energy performance. The facility is built on three levels including its basement—two for children and one for offices—and the roof terrace has been imagined as an open playground enclosed by glass panes. "The extension of the nursery is an opportunity to give new coherence to the group of buildings," H20 Architects said in a statement. 
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On View> The Louvre opens major restoration of its Decorative Arts Galleries

If you like French decorative arts you should make your way this summer to the Louvre's newly restored and reinstalled 18th century Decorative Arts Galleries. The collection is housed in 35 galleries spanning 23,000 square feet. Over 2,000 design pieces "in object-focused galleries and period-room settings" are on display. The architect for the restoration was  Michel Goutal, the Louvre’s senior historical monument architect (with technical assistance provided by the Louvre’s Department of Project Planning and Management). In addition, there is an American connection to the restoration of the galleries. The American Friends of the Louvre (AFL)—who famously helped restore a "secret" Versailles water garden several years ago—played a vital role in the renovation by raising $4 million in support of the project and one of its key period rooms, the restoration of l’Hôtel Dangé-Villemaré drawing room. This space has not been exhibited in its entirety since its 19th-century acquisition by the Louvre. The AFL also raised funds for the restoration and first ever public presentation of a magnificent cupola painted by Antoine François Callet which will be installed in the galleries and for the English-language edition of the book of the Louvre’s decorative arts collection whose publication will celebrate the opening.
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Blue Plate Special: Bjarke Ingles Reinterprets Walter Gropius With “Big Cities” Dinnerware

In 1969, Walter Gropius designed a collection of china for Rosenthal. Named after his atelier in Cambridge, The Architects Collaborative, TAC's elegant and curious forms are pristine in white porcelain. Embellishing Gropius' design would naturally be heresy to some purists. To others, it would reflect his belief in the collaborative process. In their update of the tableware, called TAC Big Cities, architect Bjarke Ingels of BIG and Danish industrial design studio Kilo teamed up to create an urban motif for the collection. The skylines of Paris, New York, Berlin, London, and Copenhagen have been delineated in dark blue with a sure hand (My guess it was wielding a 7B pencil). Not meandering doodles, not too-crisp or CAD-like. This is a friendly, confident line. When wrapping around serving vessels, pitchers, and bowls, the cities' silhouettes are easily recognizable, punctuated with unmistakable architectural icons as the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building, and the Brandenburg Gate. But when projected onto the borders of plates and platters—comparatively flat surfaces—the lines distort, and read more like seismic activity graphs. It's a pleasantly unruly ornament. Dining on the town of your choice will cost about $50 for a 11-inch plate.

Eiffel Tower’s New “First Floor” Almost Complete

Work is almost finished on a revamped viewing platform and event space at the Eiffel Tower. While it’s called the First Floor, it’s nearly 200 feet above ground and will offer panoramic views of Paris. And for the braver visitors, it will offer views straight down as the new space has a glass-floor viewing platform. Moatti-Rivière Architects is heading up the renovation, which will include shops, restaurants, conference rooms and event spaces. The new floor will also be better suited to those with disabilities and incorporate green technologies including solar panels and the rainwater collection.
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The New Paris Underground: Mayoral Candidate Proposes Reusing Abandoned Subway Stations

Paris mayoral candidate Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet is attempting to forge a new underground scene in the French capital. In conjunction with her 2014 campaign the politician has commissioned a series of mock-ups that re-imagine abandoned subway stations as cultural and recreational gathering spaces. The designs were executed by Manal Rachdi of OXO architects + Nicolas Laisné from Laisné architecte urbaniste. The renderings transform the Arsenal metro station, one of 16 dating between 1930 and 1970 to have either fallen out of use or never open following construction. While some of the their tracks still bear witness to train traffic and are used as dumping grounds for the Paris Metro, Kosciusko-Morizet is hoping to attract more than just subway cars and unused equipment to the stations. The renderings show the transit catacombs filled with the likes of a theater, swimming pool, restaurant, nightclub, and sculpture gallery. Sleek visuals aside, questions about sanitation, safety, and even acoustics immediately come to mind when one considers the logistics of implementation. Ultimately the mayor hopes to create some kind of platform that would allow the public to submit ideas for the subterranean spaces. The plan would not mark the first re-purposing of an out of use station, nor is it the only stab in recent weeks at giving new life to rusting public transportation infrastructure found within the city. Though the proposal has garnered a fair bit of buzz, any hopes of realization are contingent on Kosciusko-Morizet, a former minister of transport for the French government herself, actually ascending to the mayor's office. For now the center-right candidate remains a firm second favorite behind her socialist adversary Anne Hidalgo.
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Market-in-Training: Proposal Would Transform Paris’ Abandoned Railroad

Paris is known in part for its numerous quaint outdoor markets offering foodstuffs and vintage objects. It is also home to an—if not quaint, at least fairly aged—abandoned railway system, the Chemin de fer de Petite Ceinture. Two enterprising architects have now proposed combining the idea behind the former retail markets and the infrastructure of the latter to create a traveling market that would circle the city center. Despite their surface appeal, Paris' street markets leave problematic amounts of trash in their wake and are prone to impeding the prevalent bicycle traffic within the city. Amílcar Ferreira and Marcelo Fernandes saw the long-abandoned railroad as a perfect solution to address these issues. The two propose reviving the tracks, last in operation in 1934, and using them as a platform for a train re-purposed as a site for commerce and bartering, with various cars providing storefronts, workshops, and utility services for local vendors. The train would also offer rides to visitors as it itinerates between various locations within Paris's fortified walls. The proposal was conceived as a submission to the 2013 M.ART opengap competition.
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Historic Train Station in Paris To Become World’s Largest Start-Up Incubator

Paris has its answer to Silicon Valley, with plans to convert an historic train station into the world's largest home for digital entrepreneurship. Architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte has been entrusted to rehabilitate the landmark building, situated on the southern bank of the river Seine, into a technological hub to accommodate 1,000 start-up companies by the year 2016. The new Halle Freyssinet building will be structured around modular container-based architecture, a nod to the cargo train heritage of the building, and will provide a range of business functions including meeting rooms, spacious co-working areas, a large auditorium, a fab-lab (workshop to create digital prototypes) and a 24-hour restaurant and bar. The ambitious venture is made possible through the Municipality of Paris with joint financing by Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations and French entrepreneur, Xavier Nile. If all goes to plan, the new digital incubator will strengthen France's presence and competitiveness in the tech enterprise market by cultivating an open space for entrepreneurs to grow and share ideas. "Paris is a magical city, a city that attracts people from around the world and where a real energy around digital is developing. But young companies that want to settle there are faced with a lack of affordable, practical and high-speed equipped places."  Xavier Niel told the newspaper Journal du Dimanche.