TVK: TVK hand over the redevelopment of the Place de la République, inaugurated by the mayor of Paris on June 2013. Due to its exceptional size (120m by nearly 300m), its symbolic dimension as a representative public statement and its location in the city, the Place de la République occupies a special place in the international hub that is Paris.

The redevelopment of the Place de la République is based on the concept of an open space with multiple urban uses. The elimination of the traffic circle frees the site from the dominating constraint of motor vehicle traffic. The creation of the concourse marks the return of calm in an airy, uncluttered two hectare space. The new square, now skirted by motor traffic, creates a large-scale landscape and becomes an urban resource, available and adaptable for different uses. Clear connections with the large boulevards promote a new balance centred on soft transport for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport. The statue of Marianne, the reflective pool, the pavilion and the rows of the trees form a strong axis. This harmony is amplified by the serene balance of the mineral element and a very gentle slope of 1%. All these elements contribute to both the interpretation of unitary materials in a perennial and contemporary manner and multiple explorations (colours, water, lights) creating different urban ambiances. The Place de la République is now the largest pedestrian square in Paris.

The south-west part of the square houses a 162 m² pavilion, a unique building, glazed throughout to retain a continuous impression of this singular space. The pavilion was conceived and designed by TVK Architectes Urbanistes. It’s interiror layout has been designed by NP2F architectes.

© Clement Guillaume

© Clement Guillaume

The articulation of public and pedestrian areas

Abandoning the traffic circle model

The redevelopment of the Place de la République is based on a decision to create the largest possible public pedestrian area. Paris was in need of an exceptionally large and versatile public place, like an open field in the heart of the city, a feature found in many other large cities. Also, it was essential to move away from the traffic circle model.

Functional & environmental dissymetry

Two-fold dissymetry, both functional and environmental, is used along the long axis of the square to blend it into the general urban setting. Motor traffic has been reorganised. It now runs along the southern edge and two smaller sides of the square only. Now that the traffic runs in both directions and the pavements have been widened, the road is much more similar to the large Parisian boulevards.

Unity and balance

The Place de la République is also open to varied groups participating in a very wide range of activities. The aim of the project was to cater for these users by changing the balance between the roadway and the concourse. The most important challenge was to reunify and harmonise the attributes of a city with those of a local neighbourhood.

 

 

© Clement Guillaume

© Clement Guillaume

The pavilion’s design (TVK)

In line with the principles adopted in the redevelopment of the Place de la République, the «Monde & Médias» Pavilion is a perennial building, designed to last. It is scalable and adaptable, but also is a strong presence, opening onto the square. It is the only edifice in the new square. The Pavilion is sited on the southwest part, in line with the reflective pool and the statue de la Republique. It is fully glazed so as not to obscure the view and provides a continuous vista of the square. The pavilion houses a « World & Media » themed café and its entirely modular interior can host a wide variety of festive, social and cultural events and uses in all seasons and all weathers. The pavilion is assertively simple in design, comprising a closed volume, 9.29m by 18.20m and 3m high, and a 0.75m-thick roof with an 8.70m cantilever.

The pavilion’s envelope is entirely glazed. The visual impact of its structural assembly is minimal, so as not to perturb the prismatic appearance of the overall volume: the metallic elements are integrated to a maximum and the opening zones are concentrated to create an image of large glazed planes jointed together.

The supporting structure also participates in this self-effacement to achieve transparency: reduced to four small-diameter metallic posts at the corners, it is similar in design to the metallic elements. The roof band is composed of aluminium sheeting whose assemblage is invisible, with its horizontal and vertical aluminium rigidifying elements following the same rhythm as that of the glazed panels. The cantilever’s underside is clad with large sheets of perforated aluminium. Echoing the large symmetrical composition of the Place de la République, the space’s interior organisation is dictated by a partition dividing it lengthways into two distinct and symmetrical areas.

 

 

© Clement Guillaume

© Clement Guillaume

Data

Location: Place de la République / Paris / France
Commissioned architects and urban planners: TVK / Trévelo & Viger-Kohler

Landscape Architects: AREAL + Martha Schwartz Partners
Technical consultants: ATEC
Traffic and movement consultants: CITEC
Fountain consultants: JML Consultants
Lighting design: AIK – Yann Kersale
Environmental consultants: Transsolar
Dialogue and consulting: Ville Ouverte
Photos: Clement Guillaume (more images of Place de la Republique)
Project’s blog

Key figures

Monde & Médias Pavilion
Volume of 9mx18m (162m²) with 3m headroom surmounted
by a 0.75m thick roof providing a generous cantilever (8.7m
deep)
Dimensions of square 280m x 120m
Pedestrian area 2 ha
Bus, taxi and cycle lane
7m wide, reduced-speed traffic
Ratio of pedestrians: traffic
Before: 2/3 traffic, 1/3 pedestrians
After: 2/3 pedestrian, 1/3 traffic
Seating
•ground (wide steps + base of statue)
•24 wooden benches + 1 platform
•“movable” chairs available
Water
•statue basin (3m wide around the base of the statue)
•276m² reflecting pool (23mx12m) + sprays
Lighting
•34 lighting masts, 10 of them equipped with «signal bark»
•19 historic candelabra, restored
Materials
3 sizes of concrete slabs on the concourse (14 cm thick) and
on the north and south pavements (12 cm thick):
•large (192×68) in the centre of the concourse
•average (95×34) over the rest of the concourse
•small (48×17) on the pavements + «Parisian» asphalt on
the west and east pavements (continuity)
Trees
•134 plane trees
•18 honey locust trees
•1 wild cherry (tree of secularism)
•Trees before transformation: 83 on the esplanade / 142
around the perimeter
•Trees in the new square: 97 on the esplanade / 154 around
the perimeter

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