Following a three-year redesign, the Place de la République in Paris reopened this year, welcoming back the regular organized protests that make it one of the most important public spaces in Paris. For the designers of the space, TVK agency, it was important not to infringe on what many Parisians consider their inalienable right to protest - however a question remained over how the square could be more amenable to other uses at the same time. In this article, originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Place for Protest," Veronique Vienne explores how TVK agency allowed Parisians to have their cake and let them eat it too.
In Paris, rituals of political discontent are traditionally celebrated on Place de la République. It is a favorite kick-off point for the countless marches that define democracy in the French capital. But before taking to the street in a slow-moving procession, crowds block traffic all around the esplanade, creating a gridlock that can cripple the city from Sacré Coeur to the Opéra. Meanwhile, citizens get to unfurl banners and shout slogans. It’s legal, good, clean fun.
With more than 7 billion people now alive, the greatest population growth over the last century has occurred in urban areas. Now, a new series of interactive maps entitled "The Age of Megacities" and developed by software company ESRI allows us to visualize these dramatic effects and see just how this growth has shaped the geography of 10 of the world’s 28 megacities. Defined as areas with continuous urban development of over 10 million people, the number of megacities in the world is expected to increase, and while Tokyo still tops the list as the world’s largest megacity, other cities throughout Asia are quickly catching up. Find out more after the break.
Starting October 18th, the Tchoban Foundation will be showing 65 art works of Hôtel particulier buildings – prestigious town houses, which were built in the first part of the 18th century and characterize Parisian architecture until today - in the exhibition “Lʼhôtel particulier à Paris.” After Sergei Tchoban, architect and founder of the Tchoban Foundation for Architectural Drawing, showed his collection of 24 drawings at the École des Beaux-Arts in 2011 with the exhibition “À la source de l’ Antique. La collection de Sergei Tchoban”, the two institutions now continue their collaboration, this time with a selection of works from Paris that will be displayed in Berlin.
Because of - rather than in spite of - Frank Gehry's seeming inability to design something rectilinear, CEO of Louis Vuitton Bernard Arnault specifically sought him out to design the Fondation Louis Vuitton, a private art gallery in Paris. Arnault asked Gehry to create something worthy of the foundation's first artistic act; "a haute couture building." The resulting glass palace is immediately recognizable as a Frank Gehry design, with a form that conjures images of sailboats and fish. In this article for Vanity Fair, Critic Paul Goldberger considers the building within the prestigious history of Paris museums, and within Gehry's larger body of work. Click here to read the story.
"I feel a misfit in my own time," says Rem Koolhaas, setting the tone. Seated in soon-to-be renovated Galeries Lafayette in Paris, Koolhaas bares all intellectually through the course of his lecture. As founder of Rotterdam-based OMA with a worldwide practice, candid conversations with Koolhaas are rare. The discussion provides a glimpse into the creative process of one of the world's leading architects and current Curator of the Venice Biennale of Architecture. Koolhaas confides in the audience from the outset, admitting his discomfort with current architecture. "From the inside of my current condition, I feel profoundly out of step with the contemporary situation," says Koolhaas, adding "I'm very annoyed by the contemporary belief in comfort as the ultimate virtue."
Have you ever treated a famous city like your very own sketchbook? Claire and Max of Menilmonde did just that. The duo re-envisioned the buildings and monuments of Paris by capturing the lower stories through video and sketching imaginary additions in a project that viscerally challenges pre-conceived attitudes towards iconic structures. Take a walk through the City of Love and experience it anew as a work of art.
The French government has announced that it is committing €200 million towards restoring the Grande Arche de la Défense, the 110m tall hollow cube which marks the Western end of Paris' Axe Historique. The arch was completed in 1989 to celebrate the bicentennial of the French Revolution, however in its 25-year lifespan it has not fared well: an elevator scare in 2010 forced the rooftop facilities to close, and the area around the North tower has been closed to the public due to the risk of falling marble tiles. Studies conducted between 2004 and 2010 concluded that one in six of the facade tiles had been severely damaged by rain.
The €200 million investment will focus on the arch's Southern tower, where workers for the French ecology and housing ministries who occupy the space have complained of a lack of natural light and poor working conditions.
In an article for the New York Times Rachel Donadio examines Masterworks vs. the Masses. From the Louvre in Paris to London'sBritish Museum, Florence's Uffizi to the Vatican Museums, the increasing surge of visitors to these international cultural nodes "has turned many museums into crowded, sauna-like spaces." Balancing everyone's right to be "nourished" by cultural experiences with protecting and preserving the works of art in question is a very real problem. According to Donadio, "even when the art is secure, the experience can become irksome." With some museums seeing annual visitors of up to 6.7 million visitors (British Museum), addressing the issues faced by institutions that are a victim of their own success is becoming more and more pressing. Read the article in full here.
A former treasure in Louisville is now nothing more than a storage facility, while a dilapidated office building in Paris has sat empty for months on end. Both of these cities are taking proactive, but wildly different, measures to help the valuable vacant buildings and lots in their jurisdictions find new life. To learn more about each city's potential solution to this global problem, keep reading after the break.