Posts tagged with "Paris":

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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.
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Unveiled> Renzo Piano’s Stacked Masses Create an Efficient Paris Judicial Complex

Renzo Piano has unveiled renderings for the new Palais de Justice, positioned on the northern edge of central Paris in the urban expansion area of Clichy-Batignolles, which will provide space for and unite numerous judicial services presently scattered throughout the city. The law courts complex appears as a slender, translucent, 525-foot-tall tower comprised of four stacked rectangular masses diminishing in size as they ascend. The structure includes extensive fenestration to blend the division of the interior and exterior, in addition to two exterior glass elevators offering expansive views of the city. Three atria at the 64,600 square foot ground level piazza direct views into the towers overhead that encompass 30 floors grouped into three levels, each containing 10 floors. The structure consists of 90 courtrooms, offices, and meeting rooms for the magistrates, public prosecutor, and presiding judges. The floor plans within the three sections decrease in scale, forming a tiered system with space for terraces, which incorporate roof gardens landscaped with trees. The terraces accommodate solar panels and a rainwater collection system, and the building is on track to set a new standard for energy efficiency in tall buildings. Designed for efficiency and simplicity, the thin proportions of the courthouse are systematically organized so as to guarantee plentiful daylight throughout, and even extending to the tower’s center. The site is situated at a major crossroads between the administrative areas of the city and its suburbs, and is well linked by public transportation, including the northern expanse of the exceedingly successful, recently completed tramway system. The Palais de Justice is expected to open by 2017.
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French Architect’s Restaurant Designs Creates A Pixelated Green Facade

Whoever said that one needs to leave the city to experience nature hasn’t seen French architect Stephane Malka’s striking facade proposal for the Parisian restaurant EP7, an unusual site that is sure to stand out in the urban setting of the city. Amidst a city of man-made concrete and glass structures could rise a building essentially comprised of an organically growing “forest. Malka, who has experience in urban landscaping, created a green facade that wraps around a glass enclosure and is composed of raw wooden blocks arranged in a patchy, pixelating pattern. The uneven surface creates spaces for plant life to grow, spilling flourishing green plants and foliage down the building. The textured wooden facade, which seems to actively move inward to completely engulf the glass skin, stops to reveal an expansive view of the restaurant’s interior. Malka’s work presents passersby and restaurant customer with with the interesting paradox of nature abundantly flourishing in an urban environment. [Via Design Taxi.]
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Unveiled> Bjarke Ingels Designs an Entire City Covered in Green Roofs Near Paris

The Bjarke Ingels Group, along with Tess, Transsolar, Base, Transitec, and Michel Forgue, have revealed their winning design for EuropaCity, a 200-acre urban cultural and commercial destination located between Paris and Roissy. Combining the forms of a dense European city with an open landscape, EuropaCity is set to be a retail, cultural, and leisure city of unprecedented scale. Modeled on the European urban experience and equipped with cutting edge green technologies, the development will serve as a retail and cultural hub for the region as well as a laboratory and showcase for sustainable design. The project will contain concert halls, spas, and retail oriented around an internal avenue and based on traditional European urban models, with integrated infrastructures for bicycles and electric-powered public transit. The entire project will be caped in a massive landscaped green roof, containing, of course, ski slopes, hiking trails, urban farming, rolling hills, sloping valleys, and unmatched views of the Paris skyline. The mega-development will be linked directly to the Paris Metro and the Charles de Gaul Airport. “EuropaCity will be an experimental hybrid between urbanism and landscape design,” said Bjark Ingels in a statement. “Center and periphery overlapped in simultaneous coexistence of a recreational open landscape of rolling hills superimposed on an urban neighborhood of walkable streets, plazas, and parks.” While EuropaCity will be fully powered through solar, biofuels, and geothermal, BIG hopes to reach for another level of sustainability with the project by crafting a high quality of public life within the area and providing solutions by which we can improve the quality of the urban environment.
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Paris Trots Out Black Sheep as a Lawnmower Alternative

Since Wednesday, four black ewes have a new home, and new jobs as groundskeepers on a small patch of municipal land in Paris. Fenced in on a half-acre lawn in front of the city’s archives building in the 19th Arrondissement, the New York Times reported that the sheep are part of a new “eco-grazing” program which aims to cut out loud, gas-guzzling lawnmowers and toxic herbicides in favor of a more agrarian solution. If all goes well at the archives, city officials have plans to bring more mouton to pastures across Paris. Their hilly home on the eastern edge of the city is a near perfect paddock for the animals, Marcel Collet, the farmer overseeing the sheep, assured the Times. The special two-foot-tall sheep, known as Ouessant, were brought from the Breton coast and selected for the hardiness and diminutive size. Contained by a three foot electric fence and monitored by a lone guard, the sheep face few threats aside from domestic dogs and the hazard of tipping over (if a sheep falls, someone needs to be there to flip it back over). “Otherwise, it risks smothering itself,”  archives director Angés Masson quipped to the Times. While she is happy with her new employees, they weren’t exactly what she was hoping for, telling the Times that, “Myself, I wanted a donkey.” Others also have their doubts about the sheep, as some worry that they may endanger the local biodiversity. Four distinct types of orchids have been found on the sheep’s new pasture, but scientists will stand by to monitor the interaction between the animals and plant life. The sheep are part of a larger greening effort by Mayor Betrand Delanoë, who has brought bike- and car-sharing programs, bike and bus lanes, and pedestrian pathways to the city since being elected in 2001. At a mere $335 for the four, the sheep provide both a sustainable and affordable solution to Paris landscaping needs.