Metamorphosis of a Monument_Les Olympiades, a Modern Heritage
Florent Leung & Maxime Duquet
This work was a result of a larger research on the becoming of the seventies modernist utopias. “Les Olympiades” are for modern heritage us a testimony of this thinking and a site with a great potential because of its size and its position in the city of Paris.
We tried to answer to questions about the place of our society on this large esplanades and that they could create to become a real advantage for the city. Today, these districts are outside the cities or create a rupture in the organization of them. The main part of our work is not the architecture, even if we create multiples buildings or transform a large part of the slab, but the public space : the link between the urban block and the district, between underground and surface, between public and private space.
Who influences you graphically?
We are following many boards on Pinterest and take an interest in the work of European architecture agencies like N2PF, OMMX, KGDVS, Bruther or Fala Atelier…
We are also interesting by the photography which is a real example for the choice of viewpoints. The work of Matthieu Venot is particularly important for us.
We also tried to create a specific and uniform graphic code for this project: the models and the images were composing with the same sensibility about the site.
What do the terms monument and metamorphosis imply for you?
The term monument is something strong for us. It’s an object which is the testimony of founding thoughts or acts of the History. In this case, the choice of the term monument was linked to the images reflected by the esplanades of Les Olympiades in the Parisian urban and architectural landscape.
The high towers are noticeable by their size and the way they occupy the urban space, contrasting with the labor housing of the district. But they are also a witness of the great Modern thought. For us, these two points allows to qualify Les Olympiades as a monument, because they are modern heiresses. This term implies a duty of memory and transmission of ideas.
The term metamorphosis implies a strong modification of the urban object. The project modifies the function and the image of the esplanade. It transforms radically few parts of Les Olympiades, making them become something else. But all these interventions are also part of the development of Les Olympiades, into its life cycle. The slab has been conceived as an experimentation of the Modern thought, based on the research of the urban space. Our project wants to work with this place to put the public space at the heart of its functioning. In this way, we try to reinvent the esplanade in a theorical continuity.
What dictated the way you chose to frame the specific views?
The site was really large and inviting for a fragmented intervention. Our goal was to modify the topography of the slab by some works at different scales, based on nine concepts. These ones permit us to reinvent this characteristic site. So the collages are zooms highlighting functions, atmospheres and uses of each parts of the project.
With these specific collages, we wanted to highlight some atmosphere, some contrasts between the project and its surrounding. In the bottom view, we can see two atmospheres: in one hand, a slick concrete floor hosts a lonely man. On the other hand, a urban park with curves promoting the entertainments. Between the two parts, a perforated wall permits to see fragments of other side. Separated, but linked. The choice of this viewpoint depends of the context, made of towers. It represents the space offered to the inhabitants, the new landscape of the esplanade.
The collage of the façade isolates a fragment of the building to highlight the main part of it, and it permits to increase understanding of the composition, a set of cavities and outgrowths.
What role do the figures play in relation to the architecture?
For us, representation is really important in architecture and it is all the more important for a diploma. It helps to transmit ideas. But more than that, the image is for us the way to share our emotions and our sensibility about the project. By these images, we try to transmit a poetic vision of the public space, which is the aim of this work. Architecture is here to welcome the life and the human activities, and the figures should be present in our collages because we think this project as a part of the urban space, a place for all. We try to show the different activities or functions of the project by adding figures.
How does texture inform the images? in terms of materiality/atmosphere?
The site of Les Olympiades is really particular in the Parisian landscape. It’s a big concrete ship. The materiality is omnipresent. Concrete occupies the entire site, the buildings, the floor, and the façades: it creates a very specific atmosphere in this place. Our images use texture to show mixt between the preexistent architecture and the new project, and also the differences between these two parts. The texture highlights some points of the intervention. Moreover, it permits to show the global ambience we imagine for the esplanade of Les Olympiades.
Florent and Maxime are two young architects from Paris and Besançon. They met at the ENSA in Strasbourg, France. After some internship in different french agencies, they decided to work together on Les Olympiades in Paris for our academic project.
Interested by the role of the public space in the development of architecture, they tried to link the different scales, from the city planning to the architectural details. This project also follows on the subjects of their diploma thesis.