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La Defense, Paris, France

Thursday 23 May 2013

Activating La Defense

La Defense by AWP Pte Ltd in Paris, France
La Defense by AWP Pte Ltd in Paris, France La Defense by AWP Pte Ltd in Paris, France La Defense by AWP Pte Ltd in Paris, France La Defense by AWP Pte Ltd in Paris, France La Defense by AWP Pte Ltd in Paris, France La Defense by AWP Pte Ltd in Paris, France
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Small-scale buildings, multi-purpose spaces & considered landscaping by AWP for Paris 

AWP, Office for Territorial Reconfiguration (Marc Armengaud, Matthias Armengaud, Alessandra Cianchetta), was named general contractor for the landscaping of the public spaces and follies situated at the foot of the Grande Arche in Paris in July 2011. The site, located near the future Arena 92 in the Jardins de l’Arche neighbourhood, serves as a space for genuine interchange between La Defense and Seine-Arche. The urban planners and designers at AWP are also responsible for a guide plan for Defacto that will enhance the urban space of La Defense’s business district. This proposal was presented at MIPIM this year (2013).

The project site is spatially very complex. The A14 route, metro line 1 and the RER A run underground, while above ground are the existing Jardins de l’Arche landscape project and Jetty. The aim is for the scheme to support the upcoming urban planning changes to the neighbourhood: Terrasses de Nanterre, the Arena 92 stadium, residences and hotels.

Each element of the Jardins de l’Arche project - which covers approximately 70,000 sq m and includes a ramp nearly 750 m long - contributes to an improved urban experience. The continuous ramp allows for a more fluid space, while the extensive garden encourages a re-thinking of the existing landscape as a ‘sanctuary’, a place that should be protected. New follies, multi-purpose spaces and small-scale buildings increase and ‘activate’ the possible uses of the site. The principal objective is to create an architectural, urban and landscaping continuity between the newly developed and existing urban spaces.

Central to the project are the following goals: recreate an exceptional urban offering/provision on a neglected site between the Terrasses of Seine-Arche and La Defense; create an attractive and lively space on the scale of the Parisian metropolis; generate an urban culture and communication between La Defense and the surrounding neighbourhoods; reinforce the ties between this area and the heart of the city, by improving circulation and fluidity; reveal and give new value to the inherent architecture within a harmonious urban landscape.

This is one of Le Grand Paris’s major public urban spaces. The major priority is that the site creates a link between two sections of the Seine, asserting its presence at their meeting point. This linking supersedes any private or local issues about the space and perhaps even influences the way these issues are addressed. AWP approached the site by feeling it out in its nocturnal aspect, searching for a new intensity of landscape that can become a key image for Le Grand Paris.

AWP Pte Ltd

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