Plans to convert disused Paris Metro stations
into swimming pools and galleries unveiled

| 6 comments
 

News: a swimming pool, a theatre and a restaurant are among designs by French studios Oxo Architectes and Laisné Associés to renovate abandoned Metro stations in Paris (+ slideshow).

Plans to convert disused Paris Metro stations into swimming pools and galleries unveiled
Arsenal Metro station converted into an art gallery

Manal Rachdi of Oxo Architects and and Nicolas Laisné of Laisné Associés were commissioned by Paris mayoral candidate Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet to develop possibilities for renovating the disused spaces into places where Parisians can go to eat, dance, watch a play or even exercise.

Plans to convert disused Paris Metro stations into swimming pools and galleries unveiled
Arsenal Metro station converted into a nightclub

"Why can't Paris take advantage of its underground potential and invent new functions for these abandoned places?" Rachdi asked. "Far from their original purpose, more than a century after the opening of Paris' underground network, these places could show they're still able to offer new urban experiments"

Plans to convert disused Paris Metro stations into swimming pools and galleries unveiled
Arsenal Metro station converted into a swimming pool

These designs illustrate how Arsenal station, a disused stop near the Bastille that was closed in 1939 at the start of the Second World War and never reopened, could potentially be transformed into a swimming pool, theatre and concert hall, nightclub, art gallery or even refectory-style restaurant.

Plans to convert disused Paris Metro stations into swimming pools and galleries unveiled
Arsenal Metro station converted into a park

"To swim in the metro seems like a crazy dream, but it could soon come true," said Rachdi. "Turning a former Metro station into a swimming-pool or a gymnasium could be a way to compensate for the lack of sports and leisure facilities in some areas."

Another solution included an underground park, which would require a series of skylights to be built into the station's roof to provide natural light.

Plans to convert disused Paris Metro stations into swimming pools and galleries unveiled
Arsenal Metro station converted into a theatre and concert hall

The plans have been criticised for their huge cost and the safety issues involved in converting stations that still have live electricity running through them. Jean-Michel Leblanc, of France's state-owned public transportation operator RATP told Le Parisien that it would be extremely difficult to make these stations safe for public use.

If Kosciusko-Morizet wins the election on March 30 this year, she plans on crowdsourcing other ideas for repurposing Paris's abandoned stations.

Plans to convert disused Paris Metro stations into swimming pools and galleries unveiled
Arsenal Metro station converted into a restaurant

There are 16 disused Metro stations in Paris, most of which closed between 1930-1970. A small number were also built but never opened. Previously the stations have been used as temporary sets for advertising campaigns and films. Porte-des-Lilas, a disused station closed in 1935, was used as a backdrop in 2001 film Amélie.

  • Gaurav Lakhanpal

    An interesting proposition indeed. More ideas should be explored such as shopping centres, museums or art galleries without ignoring the safety and cost issues. It has the potential to add a new dimension to the tourism industry as well.

  • stefan

    Yeah, very “nice”. Only one problem, the subway still passes through these stations, so these projects are impossible.

    Political stunt.

  • Fran Kirk

    Very interested in these ideas and would certainly like to see more. I’m particularly attracted to the performance space although I can’t quite work out how it would function spatially.

  • amsam

    Not sure what the politics would be? This made me curious so I Googled it. Seems like trains do pass through (what used to be) Arsenal, which makes it very weird that they chose to put that name on the wall in these renderings. Apparently there are around 10 “ghost stations” in the Paris Metro, most of which are not on active tracks, so they could have picked one of those. But I am enjoying the mental picture of a lifeguard blowing his whistle and screaming “HORS DU PISCINE!” every 7 minutes just before the Orange line train screams through, throwing up a huge wake on each side.

    • Romain_M

      City Hall is up for grabs this year in Paris, and dreams of urban development have always been instrumental in campaigns at municipal-level.

      Watch out for more renderings and nice ideas coming through the pipes this winter. Elections will be held on the 23 of March, so there may be a flux of projects concerning Paris in the coming months.

  • Luke

    A big problem is that trains are passing through that ghost station actually. Even closed, they’re still connected to the network. So it’s impossible to make those kind of propositions. How can they imagine to change that? How can you avoid to answer the real questions?