Massena district

Paris - France


Paris - France

Running along the Seine for 2.7 km to the east of the capital, the Masséna district is part of the Paris Left Bank project, a vast restructuring plan for the 13th arrondissement. The site is marked by the presence of the Grands Moulins de Paris and by the right-of-way of the railway tracks to be reclaimed and covered.

The purpose of the consultation was to seek urban quality in a sector previously described as peripheral, according to an inventive approach, on the theme of “fabric in the dense city”. The proposals on the layout, the volumes, the division of the blocks and the public spaces were intended to allow the construction of more than 1,000 housing units, a university centre and 3 hectares of public gardens.

The team then proposed the principle of “urban bocage”, an innovative approach aimed at reconciling the requirement for high densities with the creation of a great diversity of spaces. It is then a question of providing landscape responses around

the concept of the open block by C. de Portzamparc, allowing the introduction of a new type of relationship between public and private spaces. It calls into question the principle of traditional semi-detached buildings and favours the interaction of free spaces of different status; in particular, it allows the street to benefit from the vegetation of private gardens and allows light to penetrate the interior of the blocks.

Thus the “urban bocage” is thought of as a space that crosses from street to street, through the blocks: “the garden perceived encompasses both public and private space”. Inspired by the gardens of paradise, this urban landscape revalues plants in the city, in line with the desire for nature that characterizes our era of generalized and intensive urbanization. It induces specific choices of plants adapted to the space, whose expansion is controlled (size, shape, nature) and whose textures, smells and flavours are enhanced to the maximum.

Public space
Subject mastery
Heritage project
Shared space

    • Winning project of the competition for the development of the Masséna district: overall design and landscape of public spaces
    • City of Paris
    • INTERSCENE – Master plan and landscape
      C. de PORTZAMPARC Architect
  • 13 ha > Partially completed

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