Scenes of Urban Development in Paris
Searching for contemporary architecture in Paris, I learned of an area called ZAC Masséna in the 13th arrondissement. “ZAC” stands for Zone d’Aménagement Concerté: an area designated for development by the city, in consultation with the community.
From old grain mill to university
The area of ZAC Masséna had been generally industrial. The Great Mills of Paris, dating from World War I, occupied the northern part of the zone. Were these landmark flour mills salvageable?
The City of Paris thought so, following an international trend to salvage such buildings in order to retain something of a city’s industrial history. The mill’s silos and warehouses were torn down, but the main buildings were converted into administrative and classroom buildings for the new campus of Paris Diderot University.
Batiment HOME (2015)
One of the anchors of ZAC Masséna is Batiment HOME, two mixed-use residential high-rises built in 2015. Such tall structures hadn’t been erected in Paris since the 1970s due to tight regulations on the height of buildings.
More buildings of ZAC Masséna
Some of these are dormitories associated with Diderot University.
Below, two buildings influenced by the mashrabiya screen of Middle Eastern architecture. I’ll have a closer look at this influence in an upcoming post.
Le Nid (The Nest), an office and housing complex built in 2012:
The high-tech building below is covered with twelve giant digital screens displaying artistic content.
Social housing with an attitude: Fulton Residence (2017).
Another double-take building in the 13th arrondissement
Apartment building clad in white, blue, and green tiles:
Next: Paris’ Love Affair with Glass
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