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Local Matters / Architecture & Landmarks

A livable forest of 1000 trees in the heart of Paris

Pershing Mairie de Paris

As part of the Reinventing Paris competition, a Japanese architect plans to build a unique structure complete with 1000 trees in the 17th arrondissement.

One of 22 projects selected as winners in the “Réinventer Paris or “Reinventing Paris” competition, the 1000 trees incentive will see the light between Porte Maillot and Porte des Ternes, in the northwest of the capital.

The Reinventing Paris competition involved teams submitting ideas for renovating and rebuilding a number of sites across the capital, owned and selected by the City of Paris. Its aim? To shape the urban future of the city while finding novel purposes for buildings and sites fallen into disuse.

Selection criteria involved innovation, social inclusion and environmental friendliness. The 1000 trees project ticks all three boxes. The brainchild of Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto — an admirer of famed Swiss architect Le Corbusier and a former associate of French architect Jean Nouvel — and Manal Rachdi of the French Oxo architecture agency, the development will be built on the “Pershing” site of the competition, at 16-24 avenue Pershing and avenue de la Porte des Ternes.

What is currently a 6,450m2 parking space for cars and buses will soon be transformed into an innovative building, designed in the loose shape of an upside down pyramid to “free up publicly accessible space on the ground”. The structure will bridge across the ring road, thus connecting the 17th arrondissement with the commune of Neuilly-sur-Seine.

The competition website explains that “This currently underused site will be at the heart of the Porte Maillot renewal operation, a strategic part of Greater Paris, linking the central business district with La Défense.” It also reads that the “exceptional visibility of this plot”, by virtue of the traffic flowing through it, called for “an innovative and cutting-edge project”.

Emmanuel Launiau, the CEO of OGIC, who will develop the project, tells Le Figaro that the aim is to “reconcile nature and architecture” as he believes that “the role of nature in the urban planning of our cities will be one of the challenges of the twenty-first century.”

The “forest” will house residential buildings — 127 housing units, both private and social — over 27,000 square meters of office space, a 4 star hotel comprising 250 rooms and common areas such as guest rooms, a food court, a nursery, an outdoor common kitchen and a laundry room on the 7th floor and a garden terrace on the 8th floor. A specific biodiversity area will also be set up, managed by the Bird Protection League (LPO), where courses and educational workshops can be taken.

Sou Fujimoto describes the future building as a “floating village in the middle of a forest, in Paris” which will offer the city a new “green skyline”.

Photo credit: Réinventer Paris / Mairie de Paris

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