David Chipperfield and Sou Fujimoto unveil visions for "Paris of tomorrow"

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Sou Fujimoto, David Chipperfield and Manuelle Gautrand are among the winning architects in a competition seeking innovative design proposals for 23 sites across the French capital (+ slideshow).

Spearheaded by Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, the Reinventer Paris competition called for architects and developers to team up and develop plans for numerous key sites around the city, from old railway stations to historic mansions.

Realimenter Massena by DGT Architects
Realimenter Massena by DGT Architects

According to Hidalgo, the aim is to "prefigure what the Paris of tomorrow might be".

The 23 winning projects include buildings spanning roads, apartment blocks covered in plants, an electricity substation converted into a cinema, and a warehouse transformed into a new community hub.

Morland, Mixite Capitale by David Chipperfield Architects, Calq Architecture, Olafur Eliasson, Studio Other Spaces, Michel Desvigne
Morland, Mixite Capitale by David Chipperfield Architects, Calq Architecture, Olafur Eliasson, Studio Other Spaces, Michel Desvigne

British architect David Chipperfield and Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson both feature on the team selected to overhaul the Immeuble Morland – a 50-metre high former-state-owned complex on the banks of the Seine.



Described by the competition organisers as one of the flagship projects, the 40,000-square-metre site is earmarked for a mix of uses including 5,000 square metres of social housing and a new crèche.

Pershing, Milles Arbres by Sou Fujimoto Architects, Manal Rachdi Oxo Architectes, Moz Paysage, Atelier Paul Arène, Pierre-Alexandre Risser Horticulture & Jardins
Pershing, Milles Arbres by Sou Fujimoto Architects, Manal Rachdi Oxo Architectes, Moz Paysage, Atelier Paul Arène, Pierre-Alexandre Risser Horticulture & Jardins

Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto partnered with regular collaborator Paris-based Manal Rachdi Oxo Architectes on a proposal for a building spanning Boulevard Périphérique, next to the Palais des Congrès de Paris.

Briefed to create "an innovative and cutting-edge project", the team's winning scheme proposes a curving structure that tapers outwards at the top to create extra floor area. The programme will include 30 per cent social housing provision.

Ordener, Tranches de Vie by Hubert & Roy Architectes Associés, Florence Mercier
Ordener, Tranches de Vie by Hubert & Roy Architectes Associés, Florence Mercier

Jacques Ferrier Architectures and Chartier Dalix Architectes are also working on a project spanning Boulevard Périphérique – a major ring road that divides the wealthy city from its working-class suburbs.

"A city like Paris must be able to reinvent itself at every moment in order to meet the many challenges facing it," said Hidalgo in a statement on the competition website.

Edison Lite by Manuelle Gautrand Architecture
Edison Lite by Manuelle Gautrand Architecture

"Particularly in terms of housing and everything relating to density, desegregation, energy and resilience," she added. "It is important in today's world to find new collective ways of working that will give shape to the future metropolis."

French architect Manuelle Gautrand was selected for her proposal to create a plant-covered housing block beside a conservatoire in the 13th arrondissement.

Ternes-Villiers, La Ville Multi-Strate by Jacques Ferrier Architectures, Chartier Dalix Architectes, SLA Paysagistes
Ternes-Villiers, La Ville Multi-Strate by Jacques Ferrier Architectures, Chartier Dalix Architectes, SLA Paysagistes

Other winning proposals include a project by Nicolas Laisné Associés, which aims to re-plan a community landscape to make room for new development.

Living wall expert Patrick Blanc is also involved, as part of team proposing uses for an empty 2,000-square-metre site on the southern edge of the city.

All 23 sites comprise land and property either owned by the city or by social housing landlords or developers who are competitions partners. Now that the winners have been announced, the next phase will be to develop a plan to realise each project.

Etoile Voltaire by Olivier Palatre Architectes, Atelier Roberta
Etoile Voltaire by Olivier Palatre Architectes, Atelier Roberta

Each proposal is expected to integrate forward-thinking approaches to energy production, consumption and recovery, as well as to include "ecological materials" and "innovative planting".



"Innovation also means investing in new spaces: basements, roofs, wasteland, the Périphérque and all the abandoned spaces that sometimes represent the future of our metropolis," commented Jean-Louis Missika, the deputy mayor in charge of town planning and architecture.

Piat, La Serre Habitee by Vincent Saulier Architecte, Choreme
Piat, La Serre Habitee by Vincent Saulier Architecte, Choreme

Paris has been the site for a number of innovative projects and proposals in the last few years. The most high-profile new additions to the city include Frank Gehry's Fondation Louis Vuitton, Jean Nouvel's Philharmonie de Paris and the reconstruction of Les Halles market.

Other new designs include a multicoloured basketball court, Herzog & de Meuron's 180-metre-high Tour Triangle and a conceptual capsule hotel on stilts along the Seine.

  • is there anybody out there ?

    This is the scam of the century for Paris! Worst, fake competition that city fathers have ever done. Everyone knows that you don’t get the job in Paris if you are not well connected, but this is so sad and used for the cheap political advertisement, and the actors are always the same. This is no architecture.

  • RP

    Maybe it’s me who can’t appreciate the finer things in life, but this recent need to cram trees and foliage wherever possible seems really lazy. There’s no sense or thought behind it anymore and half of it isn’t even possible with real plants.

    • Reitmor

      Frank Lloyd Wright used to say, a doctor can bury his mistakes, an architect can only advise his client to plant vines. Imagine the water damage that must occur when you conceive of your building as a flower pot.

    • davvid

      I don’t know about that. What is so impossible about a green roof or trees on balconies? Stefano Boeri’s towers in Milan seem to work, more or less.

    • Thomas

      Actually, there is not enough trees and plants in the worlds cities. The planting serves a purpose by making the quality of the air better around the building and acting as a barrier against pollution, which is perhaps the same thing.

      Planting on the building makes it possible to ventilate the buildings and not get the heat of the streets. So it’s not just because it looks nice. Not at all.

    • CM

      I agree. For about half of the year, there is no foliage and then Paris is quite grey, rainy and depressing. I am wondering how all of these projects will look like in winter.

  • spadestick

    Get more French architects into the picture. It’s sad when foreigners rule the roost .

  • Eddie Sampaio

    Leave Paris alone!