Just months after her election, the Mayor of Paris has launched a major competition for the world’s architects to re-invent her city across dozens of very different sites
The new Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, has launched a major project to breath life into the French capital, entitled Reinventer Paris. She has offered 23 development sites within central Paris, asking architects from around the world to create innovative developments suitable both for housing and work.
Speaking to an audience of architects and press at the Pavillon de l’Arsenal today, Ms Hidalgo said that the bold aim of the project is to select and develop high-profile sites that will remake Paris. She said: “A city like Paris must be able to reinvent itself at every moment in order to meet the many challenges facing it. Particularly in terms of housing and everything relating to density, desegregation, energy and resilience… Surprise us by offering Parisians a new vision of their city, revealing new quarters with a wealth of possibilities!”
Emphasising the global nature of the competition, the website is in French, English, German, Spanish, Russian and Chinese. There is a permanent exhibition at the Pavillon de l’Arsenal and entrants must register their interest by 31 January 2015. Initial plans will need to be put forward in the spring 2015 and final plans next autumn.
Ms Hidalgo said today: “We are launching this call for innovative urban projects in order to prefigure what the Paris of tomorrow might be. Each team is invited to present its ideas on how to bring added vitality to exceptional Parisian sites. The winners will then be able to purchase or rent the terrains in order to carry out their projects while simultaneously conducting an urban experiment on an unparalleled scale.”
Ms Hidalgo was elected in March saying that her first priority was to right inequality across the city by creating affordable housing and by ending the division of poor east Paris and wealthy western Paris. Yet nowhere on the website does it mention affordable housing, so could this be a grab for the kind of investment in high-end property that has seen the billions flow into London, or is she trying to create a more Gallic version of Boris Johnson’s plans for 400,000 densely packed London homes?
Ms Hidalgo’s deputy mayor and head of planning Jean-Louis Missika says that this is a chance to experiment, for “architectural audacity”, for designing “pluralistic buildings that are adaptable and intelligent”, with shared and user-friendly spaces” both inside and outside, “fablabs and ephemeral shops”.
The winners will be those that show innovation particularly in shared spaces, ways of co-working and teleworking, environmental innovation, energy recovery, zero waste and carbon and even financing solutions. However Mr Missika adds that: “The objective is not to innovate on all fronts but to seek out, for each site, the most pertinent type of innovation and reveal cutting-edge solutions.”
The sites cover around 150,000 square metres. Some are bare fields or vacant areas while others are historic buildings. For further details see the website here: www.reinventer.paris.
by Christopher Nye, Editor, OPP Connect