Under the cobblestones, tomorrow’s city? It’s the very issue to which Paris City Hall tries to bring a solution by revealing this Tuesday January 15, 2019 the laureates of “Réinventer Paris 2”. For this second edition of the call for innovative urban projects called “The Subterranean Secrets of Paris”, the City of Paris tends to put the light on the unoccupied underground areas of the city of lights. Out of the 217 original applications, only 20 of them can expect to see the light of the day.
Undergrounds, parking lots, tunnels and even disused metro stations: as many forgotten areas across time that only expected to be dusted. Out of the 31 sites Paris City Hall targeted, only 11 of them remain in the expectation for the perfect project. Projects offered for these remaining venues were whether technically too complicated to complete or not suited enough for property fields that are obviously atypical and hard to layout.
A small revolution in the underground Paris. After the success of the first edition of this new modern layout method, Paris City Hall has put the emphasis on the multi-disciplinary aspect of the projects and the originality of the offered layout solutions. So, these architectural projects were born from works carried out with architects, city planners, developers and even startups and citizen groups.
Intersecting teams focused on programs that were as cultural as event-focused as effective, and proof of it with for example, the extravagant project of Chai subaquatique for the Passy reservoirs set in the 16th arrondissement, that looks like a wine vault and a dive pit.
Also, underneath the Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre metro hides an underground 40-m long and 6-m wide tunnel, put exactly underneath the Place du Palais Royal, a night club and a media gallery will take over the place.
Other projects are surprising because of their originality and their genius. The one called MurMure designed for the layout of a former mail service station in Nation put music in the heart of the space.
Moreover, for athletes, some selected programs such as the future Cité Universelle and the LAUMIERe+ project, both set in Paris 19th arrondissement will allow the Paris City Hall to develop a range of varied activities for all Parisians.
Multipurpose sports room at the Cité Universelle in the 19th arrondissement.
The AérogArt project is undoubtedly the most emblematic of the “Réinventer Paris 2” selection. It includes 18,000 sqm of undergrounds hidden under the famous Esplanade des Invalides and that were almost unused until now. This area will be, from 2025, a new exhibition area dedicated to arts and crafts, created as “a window display of the French excellence”.
Even more unlikely, the Flabfarm project will include an edible insect micro-farm with a tasting counter, delicatessen and culinary workshops in Paris 20th arrondissement by the Porte de Pantin.
As many projects as pharaonic as exceptional that will indubitably embellish the new dimension of Parisian town planning: depth.