ILE SEGUIN, FRANCE, PARIS, 2009
|Two large-scale unified cultural masterplans|
By OMA © All rights reserved
What did we truly learn about architecture and urbanism in the past 25 years? Or more urgently, what did we unlearn, or even forget? In urbanism, we have developed, after the final excesses of modernity in the 80s, an almost seamless / universal consensus, based on parcellation. Each site is routinely subdivided into smaller plots, that are then typically even further divided into clusters of individual operations. Our fear for the megalomaniac and the monolithic has driven us to embrace fragmentation and fractalization as antidote to our earlier madness.
We all believe this approach is 'right', because we have all experienced the 'disasters' of comprehensive planning.
But after two decades of almost global consolidation of the composite and the fragmented, which apparently resurrect the procedures on which the traditional city is based, its results remain stubbornly artificial and lifeless. Aiming at both variety and familiarity, we are now incapable of both the raw energy of real anarchism, and the potential coherence of the genuinely planned.
Let us say out loud: the last majority of the urban substance we now construct in our market- and people-friendly language is irredeemably awful, neither predictable nor surprising.
More and more, architects are shoe-horned into demonstrations of peaceful, ego-less coexistence.
What we have lost:
Our ability to see large
Our courage to proclaim large ambitions
Our pleasure in being visionaries
Ile Seguin is too unique to treat as a typical project: through the rich sequence of its aborted alternatives, it now offers, in the heart of Paris, an unexpected reserve, a laboratory of failure where a forward-looking experiment – the return of the visionary, the social, the large scale – can be planned.
We can imagine on the site two 'families' of solutions.
The enclosure: both radical and historically correct, it proposes to build the perimeter of the island. It becomes, in its entirety, a building with a huge interior condition – a contiguous sequence of open-air spaces for various cultural uses – that can 'solve' in a flexible way, the relationships between the new and the inheritance of previous commitments. The whole of the island will establish a productive contrast with the ongoing efforts on the Renault site.
The linear project: a single piece of architecture can make sense of both the island's past and its future. It acts as a continuous base to the north side, and offers to Sèvres on the south a fixed context where freer and more individual projects can develop.
SAEM Val de Seine
Total 175,000m2: music centre 25,000m2; contemporary art center 40,000m2; housings, hotels, artist accommodation 35,000m2; audio-visual centre, offices 50,000m2; university 8,500m2; art centre 6,000m2; memory center 1,000m2.
Structure, services, environment, program:
SETEC, Jean-Paul Lebas, Martin Schoeller, Audrey Delaloy
Werner Sobek, Stefan Oehler, Bruse-Michae, lSchuster Heide
Partner in charge:
Paul Emmanuel Lambert, Pierre de Montigny, Lukas Drasnar, Richard Sharam