Public spaces play a significant role in organizing the life of every community but defining what differentiates them from other spaces within the city is not an easy task. Once these spaces start to settle into the collective memory of the local communities, they become key elements that concentrate the mental image of a city. While this process usually happens with urban spaces, monuments and isolated architectural elements can also become markers for the urban life of an area. So, what happens when dramatic events like fires, war, or even the pandemic alter that image?
Paris: The Latest Architecture and News
Overtaking the Tour First skyscraper, the 48-story, 220-meter HEKLA Tower will be the tallest building in Paris’s La Défense business district, as well as the second tallest building in all of France. Currently under construction and designed by Pritzker prize-winning Jean Nouvel, it is set to become a powerful architectural statement. Due to complete this 2022 in the midst of the sector’s redevelopment program, the futuristic skyscraper spreads over 76,000 sqm of floor area distributed in offices, services, lobbies, an amphitheater, projection rooms, performance halls, restaurants, bars, gyms and loggias. All of this with the aim of providing a unique user experience with vast, flexible workspaces that promote interaction and well-being.
Paris has been making headlines for years with its aggressive steps to anti-car, pro-pedestrian urban improvements. Faced with increasing issues around air pollution and an attempt to reclaim streets for alternate modes of transit, as outlined in their proposed plan for a 15-minute city, the French capital is seen as a leader in future-forward urbanist strategies. Recently, their department of transportation set a deadline for their lofty goals of eliminating traffic from its roads. In just two years from now, in time for the French capital to host the Olympics, Paris plans to ban non-essential traffic from its city center, effectively eliminating around 50% of vehicular mobility. What does this plan look like? And how might other cities use this strategy to eliminate their own urban issues?
Moving forward with his "ultra-marathon of photoshoots", architectural photographer Marc Goodwin is putting together an Atlas of Architectural Atmospheres by Arcmospheres, a project that seeks to document diverse architecture and design studios from around the world. Since 2016, the architectural photographer has been traveling "far and wide to capture the atmospheres of architecture studios in order to produce an online and print resource for the architecture community", and after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, Goodwin resumed his project with an exploration of Berlin's architecture offices, capturing the work environment of renowned firms such as Hesse, LAVA, JWA, and FAR frohn&rojas, to name a few.
Paris City Council granted final approval to Gustafson Porter + Bowman's landscape design for the Eiffel Tower site. The project is the result of a 2019 international competition that sought to redesign the 2-kilometre axis leading up to the Eiffel Tower, connecting Place du Trocadéro, Palais de Chaillot, Pont d'Iéna, Champ de Mars and the Military Academy. The landscape plan redefines this iconic green space in Paris by increasing green areas by 35% and adding over 200 new trees, in addition to pedestrianizing the Iena bridge.