AN ARCHITECTURE SCHOOL FOR PARC DE LA VILLETTE
Diploma project (Projet de fin d’études)
The Parc de la Villette is directed by an orthogonal grid aligned with the Bassin de la Villette and Ledoux’s Rotunda on which Tschumi’s “Folies” are located. This grid introduces an idea of continuity and infinity.
A first approach to this scheme was to confront this grid with various significant urban fabrics, in order to understand its measure and scale.
Tschumi’s follies, located in the park along a given grid, remind one of Land Art works where elements are distributed along an invisible grid in the landscape as in Walter de Maria’s The Lightning Field and Donald Judd in Marfa, or where pure geometrical forms are spread in the landscape (Robert Smithson’s Mirror Displacement). Parallel to these observations, the grid that expands in the city questions the idea of continuity.
As Italo Calvino mentions in Città Invisibili, continuity recalls an absence of limits. Therefore, another question is raised : “How is a system like this one developed?”
Walter de Maria
Precedent studies on continuity and grid led me to Aldo Van Eyck (Orphenage in Amsterdam), Candilis, Josic and Woods (Frei Universirät Berlin), Paul Amatuzzo (Kalamazoo) and Le Corbusier.
The Venice hospital has a hybrid status as it is an urban fabric as well as a representative monument.
Therefore, it can be read in two different ways:
- as a solid volume, with voids carved from the block,
- as a combination of basic cells spreading out along an orthogonal geometry.
With this observation in mind, the intention of continuity of the park into the city led me to a first approach formalised into two diagrams.
The project could develop along a grid in two different directions. Indeed, one could start with a solid volume, that would be carved, as a sculpture from Chillida, and would have an internal hallway system. One could also start with the main communication axis (implemented along the grid), and build some volumes on various crosspoints.
Thus, a program could be developped incrementally, and densify itself later. Those two directions are represented in study models here after.
The question of the project’s limit is raised quite soon in the case of a project working on continuity.
What is the reason that would justify the building to be limited to this space?
Why wouldn’t it spread out on the whole city? By considering the park as a site (without expanding the project in the city), it is possible to determine the potential project area.
If the building were to expand on the whole park, it would look like the following figure.
Diagrams representing the project’s evolution in the first outlines.
The architecture school here becomes University. It choses the park as a territory. By developing in the park, the University makes a building out of the park, a structure for the school.
Return to a scale adapted to an architecture school. The project area is limited to the southern portion of the park, bound on the northern edge by the canal.
Ground Floor Plan
Second Floor Plan
The western part of the student center is developed on half levels, and is organised around patios to offer an open space on the upper level, and a more intimate space on the lower level, where the administration’s offices are located extending towards the park.
The library, situated at the Northeast end
of the student center, offers a view on the canal. Books are situated in the central part of the library, at a lower level, in order to maximize the view on the park and canal, and to offer an open reading area.
Finally, the last picture shows Studio rooms organised on double levels, with a view of the Halles de la Villettes and the park. The personal
working spaces for students are located near the façades, and collective reviews spaces look towards the patio.