The City of Paris is ready to see a block in Montparnasse area restructured—this time not vertically, but horizontally. The aging structure, located in the 14th arrondissement, or district, has lost "urban connectivity", and Mayor Hidalgo's urban planner, Jean-Louis Missika, labeled it an eyesore. MVRDV, based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, has plans to bring it back. It is as though the rest of the city's pulse has stopped reaching the quartier, which lacks the typical pedestrian bustle and overall neighborhood identity quintessential to the metropolis.
Built in the early 1970s, the mixed-use block was one of the grandest urban development schemes the city had witnessed. Today, it is home to a shopping center, public library, the towering Pullman Hotel, commercial and office space. The facelift, in addition to an internal reorganization of the complex, will add a kindergarten, a conference center, 62 social housing units, and rooftop terraces accessible to all. The public library, Bibliothèque Vandamme, will move from its current underground location to an elevated one, harnessing daylight and sitting a mere stone's throw away from Gare Montparnasse. The project will be housed in the existing structure and will come in the form of multiple boxes, all of which will be sized differently (materials, colors, and programs will also differ).
The break in verticality, implementation of colors, and human-scaled structures are all ways MVRDV hopes to re-humanize the area. With the ability to live, work, eat, and be entertained (and even park their scooters) in a tranquil and aesthetically pleasing area, the Dutch firm could receive high praise from Parisians in what is planned for a rising neighborhood.
For more work by MVRDV, please visit ARCHITECT's Project Gallery.