Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
Global Walking Tour: Paris
20 July, 2018
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PARIS – The CTBUH Global Walking Tour took place in 23 locations around the world, on the theme of “Walking on Water.”  The Paris tour started at the Maison du Projet Clichy-Batignolles located at 155 bis rue Cardinet, Paris 17e. Marçia Mendonca, a member of the Guiding Architects Paris, and Amaury Greig, Associate, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, conducted the visit from the Maison du Projet to the inside of the Paris Courthouse. Nineteen people from architecture firms and other companies attended the tour. Using a map and a model, Mendonca first explained that the Clichy-Batignolles area is located to the northwest of Paris, and it benefits from its great location in a developing area with easy access to public transportation.

Inside the Maison du Projet Clichy-Batignolles (left); the 1/500 model of the Clichy Batignolles development zone (right)

She then explained the history of the Clichy-Batignolles development zone by presenting a model at the 1/500 scale, explaining  its key phases, and how its program was developed to respond well to site context. Marçia also talked about the sustainable development components integrated into the program, including an emphasis on energy efficiency through the incorporation of geothermal energy, as well as a focus on air quality, biodiversity and water conservation. A smart grid will also be applied, reflecting the project’s approach to distributing resources throughout the area and the city as part of an overall sustainability strategy. 

The group moved to the nearby Martin Luther King Park, where during their walk through, they discovered the history of the park, which was completed in 2014. The design of the 6.5 hectare park took into account environmental objectives and includes a windmill, photovoltaic panels, rainwater collection and waste management.

View from the Martin Luther King Park of various residential components of the Clichy-Batignolles development zone (left); the Paris Courthouse south façade from Martin Luther King Park (right).

The group then reached a panoramic vista in the park, allowing them to see a variety of different building types below, including mainly offices, residences, retail and public facilities, and notably, The Paris Courthouse. From this viewpoint, participants were able to see that the Courthouse’s axis is aligned with the north-south diagonal of the park. From there, Grieg explained that the building includes an eight-story podium, which integrates into the lower part of the tower. The tower is made up of three superimposed parallelepipeds, levitating one above the other. The blocks are set back as the tower rises, creating a distinctive step-like profile.

The group then moved to the parvis, or square, of the Paris Courthouse, from which they were also able to see the Maison des Avocats (MODA) currently under construction just near the courthouse. The MODA will be the future headquarters of the Paris Bar Association.

Standing in front of the courthouse, the group could observe the 160-meter-high tower covered with 50,000 square meters of glass panels and photovoltaic panels.

The Maison des Avocats under construction at the bottom of the Paris Courthouse (left); East façade of the Paris Courthouse (center); the main atrium - “Salle des Pas Perdus” - inside the Paris Courthouse (right).

The group continued the visit inside the Courthouse and arrived in the main atrium – the “Salle des Pas Perdus.” This rectangular atrium is the full height of the podium, 28 meters, and is notable for its slender steel columns and the amount of natural light that enters through its skylights – “the Marilyns” – and through the glazed façade that looks over the piazza, allowing natural light to penetrate to the heart of the building, and creating a dialogue between interior and exterior.

The Walking Tour group in Martin Luther King Park.