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CERGY-PONTOISE: Forms and Fictions of a New City

50 years after the adoption of the new cities program, the Pavillon de l’Arsenal recounts the history of Cergy-Pontoise, emblematic of this unique urban and human adventure.

How can we build a landscape city in the 20th century? Who are the founding fathers and the pioneers of this planning policy? What transports for the satellite city? What urban strategies shall be adopted to invent a city of 200,000? How can we encourage citizen participation from the start? How do we continue developing urban planning, with the environmental ambitions of today? What are the conurbation’s future challenges?

Housing in Rue de Lourmel / TVK

  • Architects: TVK
  • Location: Rue de Lourmel, 75015 Paris, France
  • Area: 11000.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2015
  • Photographs: Julien Lanoo

© Julien Lanoo © Julien Lanoo © Julien Lanoo © Julien Lanoo

Dior Men Paris / Antonio Virga Architecte + Dior Men Architecture Department

  • Architects: Antonio Virga Architecte, Dior Men Architecture Department
  • Location: 3 Rue de Marignan, 75008 Paris, France
  • Area: 16145.0 ft2
  • Project Year: 2014
  • Photographs: Olivier Helbert

© Olivier Helbert © Olivier Helbert © Olivier Helbert © Olivier Helbert

MGA Proposes World's Tallest Wood Building in Paris

Michael Green Architecture (MGA) and DVVD has teamed up with REI France developments to propose the world's tallest wood building in Paris. The carbon-neutral proposal, developed as part of the city’s innovative Réinventer Paris competition, aims to alleviate the city's urban housing challenges.

“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. “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.” 

Day Care Center / Rh+ Architecture

  • Architects: Rh+ Architecture
  • Location: 17 Rue Gustave Geffroy, 75013 Paris, France
  • Area: 1800.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2014
  • Photographs: Luc Boegly

© Luc Boegly © Luc Boegly © Luc Boegly © Luc Boegly

The Chemical Brothers "Go" Brutalist in Paris for Their Latest Music Video

In The Chemical Brothers’ “Go” music video, seven women carrying two poles march through Paris’ Front-de-Seine neighborhood in perfectly synchronized choreography by Michel Gondry. The area is located in the 15th district, beside the Seine river, and is characterized by its Brutalist buildings, the result of an urban project in the 1970s that rehabilitated the former industrial area through the construction of 20 towers nearly 100 meters high. 

The buildings were designed by Henri Pottier and Raymond Jules Lopez, and rise around an elevated platform, which features a series of geometric patterns that are best seen from the top of the towers. The video not only highlights several of these buildings, but also integrates the choreography into the remarkable urban setting. 

This post was originally written by José Tomás Franco for Plataforma Arquitectura. 

Panoramic of Front-de-Seine neighborhood, in Paris. Image via Wikipedia CC
Panoramic of Front-de-Seine neighborhood, in Paris. Image via Wikipedia CC

Jean Nouvel on Architectural Eroticism and His Battles to Complete Buildings Correctly

Recently, Pritzker Prize winner Jean Nouvel has been in the news for all the wrong reasons; after his Philharmonie de Paris opened ahead of schedule in January this year, he has been involved in a very public battle to have his name removed from the project to distance himself from the "aberrational decisions" of the client. In this interview, originally published by the Huffington Post as "Interview With Jean Nouvel," Elena Cué sits down with Nouvel in his Paris Studio to talk about his inspirations, the phenomenon of architectural eroticism, and why he is often disappointed with his completed works.

Elena Cué: The anti-Le Corbusier architect Claude Parent was your mentor when you were starting out at the age of 21. Please tell me about what meeting him meant for your career. You were actively involved in May 68 with a radical stance against the educational model of the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. What were the things you demanded?

Jean Nouvel: I felt that his studio was one of the most creative at that time. He and his partner, Paul Virilio, created a space where a new approach to architecture could evolve. Paul became a very well-known philosopher and thinker of the time. I joined the intellectual rebellion of "May 68" and it certainly impacted my architectural style in terms of its criticism of the way in which French cities have traditionally been constructed. Later on, I joined with them to create the "March 1976 Movement," which demanded that the design of French cities no longer follow the same traditional model. Soon after, the architecture trade union was formed. It was a time of intellectual excitement.

The Torre Agbar. Image © Flickr CC user Juanedc The Fondation Cartier. Image © Flickr CC user Rory Hyde The Museo Reina Sofía. Image © Flickr CC user Manu (mscosgalla) The Philharmonie de Paris. Image © Flickr CC user Marko Erman

The Transnational Urbanism of Paris: An Interview With Assistant Mayor Jean-Louis Missika

In the past century, the rise of globalism, of relatively cheap international transport, and above all, of the "world city" has fundamentally changed the way we think about citizenship and the nation state. To accommodate that change, we have also had to invent a new kind of "Transnational Urbanism": at the more esoteric end of this scale are ideas such as JG Ballard's "city of the 21st century," a geographically scattered "city" made up of the interconnected no-man's-land of international airports, which was recently exemplified by Eduardo Cassina and Liva Dudareva's hypothetical proposal for Moscow's Central Business district. At the other end of the scale are pragmatic choices that must be made by cities such as New York, London and Hong Kong that truly affect the lives of people not just living in the city, but around the world.

To probe this topic, MONU Magazine has dedicated their latest issue to the topic of Transnational Urbanism. In this extract from the magazine, MONU's Bernd Upmeyer and Beatriz Ramo interview French sociologist and Assistant Mayor of Paris Jean-Louis Missika to discover how the city is positioning itself as a 21st century global city, and how it is absorbing and adopting change in everything from the creative class to smart cities and 3D Printing.

Map of Paris with Montreuil in the east and Saint-Denis in the north. Image © City of Paris Aerial view of Ivry Bercy. Image © City of Paris Interior of the incubator in Halle Freyssinet in the 13th arrondissement in Paris. Image © City of Paris Aerial view of Ivry Choisy. Image © City of Paris

Elderly Residential Home / Atelier Zündel Cristea

  • Architects: Atelier Zündel Cristea
  • Location: Notre-Dame De Bon Secours, 68 Rue des Plantes, 75674 Paris, France
  • Design Team: Nicolas Souchko and Mario Russo,
Elena Melzoba,
Célia Horn,
Alberto Gatti,
Igrec Ingénierie, Atelier Villes et Paysages, VS-A, Acoustique & Conseil
  • Area: 29000.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2014
  • Photographs: Sergio Grazia

© Sergio Grazia © Sergio Grazia © Sergio Grazia © Sergio Grazia

Rue du Charolais / Eva Samuel

© Clément Guillaume © Clément Guillaume © Clément Guillaume © Clément Guillaume

Passage de Melun / Gaëtan Le Penhuel Architecture

© Sergio Grazia © Sergio Grazia © Sergio Grazia © Sergio Grazia

Anne Démians Wins Competition to Renovate France's Nobel School

French architect Anne Démians has been named the winner of a competition to renovate and expand the Paris Tech Higher School of Industrial Physics and Chemistry (ESPCI), the 120-year old Nobel School. The competition, which seeks to convert the university into a leading research center, garnered submissions from such designers as Rem Koolhaas and Renzo Piano. As part of a larger transformative campaign undertaken by the school, the ESPCI redesign aims to elevate the Ile de France area to a metropolis standing.

Read on after the break for more on the 176 million Euro proposal.

Mixed Use 107 Apartement Units / Nunc Architectes

  • Architects: Nunc Architectes
  • Location: 122 Rue des Poissonniers, 75018 Paris, France
  • Design Team: Emilie Faivre, Adrienne Fabre, Guillaume Zilio, Pierre Beout, Julie Bourdin, Vincent Rey-Millet, Anne-Emanuelle Metivier, Melanie Passot, Julien Perrot, Marion Piot, Pauline Scherrer
  • Area: 7340.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2015
  • Photographs: Luc Boegly

© Luc Boegly © Luc Boegly © Luc Boegly © Luc Boegly

The Architectural Lab: A History Of World Expos

The Universal Exposition of 1889. Image © Wikimedia Commons
The Universal Exposition of 1889. Image © Wikimedia Commons

World Expos have long been important in advancing architectural innovation and discourse. Many of our most beloved monuments were designed and constructed specifically for world’s fairs, only to remain as iconic fixtures in the cities that host them. But what is it about Expos that seem to create such lasting architectural landmarks, and is this still the case today? Throughout history, each new Expo offered architects an opportunity to present radical ideas and use these events as a creative laboratory for testing bold innovations in design and building technology. World’s fairs inevitably encourage competition, with every country striving to put their best foot forward at almost any cost. This carte blanche of sorts allows architects to eschew many of the programmatic constraints of everyday commissions and concentrate on expressing ideas in their purest form. Many masterworks such as Mies van der Rohe’s German Pavilion (better known as the Barcelona Pavilion) for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition are so wholeheartedly devoted to their conceptual approach that they could only be possible in the context of an Exposition pavilion.

To celebrate the opening of Expo Milano 2015 tomorrow, we’ve rounded up a few of history’s most noteworthy World Expositions to take a closer look at their impact on architectural development.

1964 New York World’s Fair . Image via People for the Pavillion website Buckminster Fuller's Dome. Image © Flickr user abdallahh Barcelona Pavilion. Image © Gili Merin Kiyonari Kikutake's Landmark Tower

30m2 Flat in Paris / Richard Guilbault

  • Architects: Richard Guilbault
  • Location: 75018 Paris, France
  • Area: 30.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2015
  • Photographs: Meero

© Meero © Meero © Meero © Meero

Jean Nouvel Loses Court Case Over Philharmonie de Paris

Jean Nouvel has lost a court battle aimed to remove his name from the newly opened Philharmonie de Paris. As The Telegraph reports, Nouvel claimed that the £280 million concert hall was inaugurated prematurely and parts of the building was "sabotaged" in doing so, thus believing it to be morally inapt from him be associated with the building.

"The architecture is martyred, the details sabotaged," he said in a Le Monde editorial, "so taxpayers will have to pay, once again, to correct these aberrational decisions."

Neker Enfants Malades Hospital / Philippe Gazeau

  • Architects: Philippe Gazeau
  • Location: 149 Rue de Sèvres, 75015 Paris, France
  • Commissioned architect: Philippe Gazeau
  • Project director: Jacques Forté
  • Work director: Michel Delamotte
  • Area: 60000.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photographs: Philippe Ruault

© Philippe Ruault © Philippe Ruault © Philippe Ruault © Philippe Ruault

Sou Fujimoto-Led Team Selected to Design Ecole Polytechnique Learning Centre in Paris

With an idea based on "flexibility, mingling and openness," Sou Fujimoto Architects, Manal Rachdi OXO Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associates have been announced as winners of a restricted competition to design a new Ecole Polytechnique learning center at Paris-Saclay University. The winning scheme, chosen over four finalists, will consolidate six institutions under one roof: Ecole Polytechnique, Institut Mines-Telecom, AgroParisTech, ENSTA ParisTech, ENSAE ParisTech and Institut d'Optique (IOGS).

Courtesy of Sou Fujimoto Architects, Manal Rachdi OXO Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associates Courtesy of Sou Fujimoto Architects, Manal Rachdi OXO Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associates Courtesy of Sou Fujimoto Architects, Manal Rachdi OXO Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associates Courtesy of Sou Fujimoto Architects, Manal Rachdi OXO Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associates