Posts tagged with "France":

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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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Norman Foster Turns the World on Its Head With Mirrored Pavilion in France

Norman Foster has hoisted a slender sheet of mirror-polished stainless steel above a plaza on the edge of Marseille's historic harbor, creating a new pavilion that reflects the activity of the bustling public space overhead. Foster + Partners' "Vieux Port" pavilion officially opened over the weekend in the French city. The pavilion roof measures 150 feet by 72 feet, tapering at its perimeter to create the illusion of impossible thinness and is is supported by eight thin stainless steel columns inset from the pavilion's edge. The project also enlarged the pedestrian area around the harbor and calls for traffic reductions in the area to improve pedestrian safety and restore connections with the surrounding city. Foster worked with landscape architect Michel Desvigne to create the surrounding plaza, paved in a light-colored granite that match the site's original limestone cobbles. Small wooden pavilions are placed around the plaza's edge and can be used for special events or markets. "I know the harbour at Marseille well and it is a truly grand space. This project is a great opportunity to enhance it using very simple means, to improve it with a large pavilion for events, for markets, for special occasions," Foster said in a statement. "Our approach has been to work with the climate, to create shade, but at the same time to respect the space of the harbour – just making it better."
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Oy, Tannenbaum! Modern Christmas Tree Causes A Stir in Belgium

A modern interpretation of a Christmas tree designed by French firm 1024 Architecture lighting Grand Place, the main public square in Brussels, Belgium has some locals seeing stars. Standing 82 feet tall, ABIES-Electronicus, as the modern tree installation is named, is billed as an eco-friendly equivalent of chopping down a living tree, but some politicians in the city say it represents a "war on Christmas" as the symbols of the holiday are abstracted away from tradition. The mayor dismissed the charges, noting this year's holiday theme was about light, and noting that a nativity scene is set up nearby. Built using readily accessible scaffolding and covered in fabric, ABIES-Electronicus can be ascended for an aerial view of the square and features video projections and changing light displays as well as a sound scheme. The modern design is also intended to contrast with the ornate historic architecture of the square. The architects told the French publication Libération (as translated by Google), "It is made of standard components that can easily be found nearby... And contrary to what has been said, it is cheap compared to the price of abnormal loads, crane and staff mobilized by these giant firs. And it is more fun!" The tree previously made an appearance in the town of Guebwiller, France, where the photos below and video were taken. [Via ArtInfo.]
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A Glowing Moonscape in France is Skateable Art

In the middle of a lightly populated island in the middle of a French reservoir—the Ile de Vassivière—an eerie green glow rises from the crest of a hill at dusk, indicating that you've found OTRO, a phosphorescent skate park of sinuous bowls and tunnels. Designed by artist Koo Jeong-A, L'Escaut Architectures, and skateboard consultants Brusk and Barricade, the project is described as "skateable artwork" and located near a large chateau housing the International Center of Art and Landscape, a light house designed by Aldo Rossi, and a humanoid piece of land art only visible from high above. OTRO was built just like any typical skate park, by shaping a web of rebar reinforcing around excavated bowls and carefully adding concrete on top. In this case, a layer of primer and a coating of phosphorescent paint was added to achieve the stunning effect. Koo Jeong-A first came to the island in 2007 for an exhibition and, according to L'Escaut's website, "had been impressed by the mysterious winter landscapes of the island and the atmosphere that arose from it...an unreal, phantasmagoric and powerful dreamscape belonging to the imaginary world of the artist."
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Unveiled> Bjarke Ingels Builds an Arch Filled With Culture for Bordeaux, France

Bjarke Ingels has again thrown us for a loop, this time in Bordeaux, France. Ingels' firm BIG has revealed its latest competition-winner called the Maison de l’Économie Créative et de la Culture en Aquitaine, or, for the rest of us, MÉCA. As AN noted in April, BIG won the commission working with Paris-based FREAKS freearchitects, beating out the likes of SANAA and Toulouse-based W-Architectures, but the renderings have been kept under wraps until now. Ingels' explained the design using his signature diagram-based narrative as an array of three visual and performing arts agencies arranged around a 120-foot-tall arch-shaped building. The architects approached the concept of the arch as a functional, programmatic, and symbolic guide in their understanding and design of the building. The arrangement begins (see diagrams in gallery below) along a flat line connecting three cultural institutions—OARA, FRAC, and ECLA—and then twists to create an asymmetrical geometry surrounding a void at the center of the arch housing an outdoor “urban room.” This central public space transitions between the building's interior and the public promenade weaving through the building. The archway, expressive of the building’s cultural function, also implies a connection between the building, its institutions, the waterfront, and the adjoining city of Bordeaux. The three institutions taking residence at the MÉCA each occupy different parts of the arch. Regional performing arts center OARA and the ECLA archives will fill the vertical posts while the regional visual arts center FRAC alights above with sunlit gallery space, including a large roof terrace. The entrance to all three buildings is below the “urban room” and accessible by large ramps leading visitors first underground before ascending either vertical pillar. A large rooftop terrace is also sliced into the sloping roof. The new center is clad in a regionally-traditional limestone with an intricately fenestrated facade adding rich texture and depth to the envelope. The $65.4 million project will be paid for with public funds and is estimated to be complete in 2015.
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Unveiled> A BIG Glassy Box for Paris, Sort Of

In Bjarke Ingels' traditional style, what started as a standard box of a building for Paris' Université Pierre et Marie Curie has been lifted, bent, and deformed to maximize light, sight lines, and air flow for a cramped urban site. Ingels' firm BIG and Paris-based OFF recently won won a competition to design the new multidisciplinary research center called Paris PARC to reunite the university's campus with the surrounding city including Jean Nouvel's adjacent Institut du Monde Arabe and the nearby Notre Dame Cathedral. BIG’s design calls for a specific geometry to coordinate the new building with its neighbors from varying historical periods while taking into account optimized daylight access, views, and accessibility. PARC emphasizes its axial relationship to the cathedral with large panoramic windows offering views of Notre Dame and the Parisian skyline. The exterior is slightly titled, creating a canyon-like central atrium that provides greater access to natural light and promotes visibility among laboratories and office spaces. There is also public access to the rooftop, which offers further panoramic views of the city. “As a form of urban experiment the Paris PARC is the imprint of the pressures of its urban context. Wedged into a super dense context—in terms of space, public flows and architectural history—the PARC is conceived as a chain of reactions to the various external and internal forces acting upon it," said Ingels in a statement. "Inflated to allow daylight and air to enter into the heart of the facility, compressed to ensure daylight and views for the neighboring classrooms and dormitories, lifted and decompressed to allow the public to enter from both plaza and park and finally tilted to reflect the spectacular view of the Paris skyline and the Notre Dame to the Parisians.”
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Video> Bourges' Unbreakable Cobblestone

A sidewalk in France adds a bounce to your step. Atelier Raum Architects recently released their streetscape intervention La Ville Molle in Bourges, France, part of the city’s 5th annual Biennale of Contemporary Art. During their 2010 artist residency at the École Nationale Supérieure d’Art de Bourges (ENSA), the architecture firm developed the urban design project in conjunction with La Box, the ENSA student gallery, and the FRAC Centre (Fonds Regional d'Art Contemporain). Situated in a medieval town square, the raised patch of cobblestone vacillates under spectators' shifting weight. The installation is intended to alter the pedestrians’ urban experience and sense of gravity while the buoyant surface juxtaposes the apparent strength of a cobblestone plaza with the instability of walking on a balloon. Thus, the design demands contemplation on whether the traditional French city should embrace contemporary design as its modernization. (Via noquedanblogs.)
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Pictorial> Steven Holl′s New Oceanic Museum in Biarritz

Steven Holl's new Cité de l’Océan et du Surf in Biarritz, France is at once rugged and ethereal. Designed in collaboration with the Brazilian artist Solange Fabiao, the building includes an accessible concave plaza roof covered in cobblestones, pierced by two milky "glass boulders," or pavilions housing a restaurant and a "surfer's kiosk." The boulders offer views out to the ocean, while the plaza directs the eye to the sky above. The museum "explores both surf and sea and their role upon leisure, science, and ecology," according to a statement from the firm. The landscape beyond is scooped out to reflect the building's concave form and create a new gathering place for the city. The museum opens to the public on June 25.
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High Speed Railing in Anaheim

More than 300 architects, planners, and developers had their minds blown and their ambitions frustrated at last week’s California High-Speed Rail TOD Marketplace in Anaheim, produced by the Urban Land Insitute's California District Councils. The mind-blowing part came via France and China. Andreas Heym, director of development for consultants AREP, narrated a tour of French High Speed Rail stations, which connect urban-planning loose ends in many cities, including small villages such as Meuse. China has High Speed Rail on government-controlled steroids. Jeff Heller, partner with Heller Manus Architects, and a member of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s HSR China delegation, noted that Chinese HSR now employs six million people and China recently imported $10 billion of HSR technology to Brazil. The frustrating part: Every other industrialized nation but the U.S. uses high-speed rail (HSR) to propel growth, cut carbon, and avoid airport headaches. “We are being left in the dust in the United States,” said Heller. Still, California is working with $10 billion in jump-start bonds. If the state can remove its many development and funding speed bumps, the placemaking power of HSR stations will be “unlike anything in the American rail transportation experience,” said Gideon Berger, AICP, Fellowship Director, Rose Center for Public Leadership in Land Use Urban Land Institute. Jack Skelley serves on Executive Committee for ULI Los Angeles.

Allah Architecture Causes Controversies Worldwide

It looks like New York isn't the only city with a controversial mosque on the horizon—and in the case of Marseilles, that's quite literally where it's going. Archinect points us to a BBC report about the Grand Mosque, a huge new complex atop one of the city's northern hills. As the video above shows, the complaints are akin to those surrounding the proposed mosque around the corner from the World Trade Center site—concerns about culture, paternalism, terrorism, and community, though in France the concerns are obviously less direct. In a favorable sign for the NYC mosque, the local community board voted against landmarking the former Burlington Coat Factory ahead of a binding review at the commission next Tuesday. The vote is non-binding but tends to carry some wait, though we're curious to see what actually happens, as this should be one of the more interesting commission meetings in recent memory. Do check back for a full report.
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Brad Pitt Thinks This Is A Game

Or a puzzle. At least that's what New York mag said the would-be-architect said to Parade mag this weekend. To be more precise:
Architecture is like play to me. As a boy, you play with Tinkertoys, Lincoln Logs, Legos, and you get interested in how things are made, like cars and drills and all that. Years later you come back around to what interested you as a boy. Now, if I have something that I'm dealing with that's causing me a lot of stress, my mind goes to architecture. I walk around the yard and start thinking about what I need to do to the house structurally. It's similar to puzzles in that way, like a crossword puzzle or anything else I can put my mind into. It's a relief for me.
Obviously, we're not going to take this too seriously or get too offended, given who we're talking about here. But at the same time, this is a guy putting together rather earnest post-Katrina housing and going on tours of Fallingwater for his birthday. How would he feel if, the next time we were down, we decided to go shoot an Academy Award-winning short film?