RSHP unveils proposal for “post-carbon” neighbourhood in Paris

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British studio RSHP has revealed its plans to introduce a mixed-use neighbourhood with a series of public spaces within La Défense business district in Paris.

Designed for the district’s Jean Moulin site, the project will aim to bring the “urban business neighbourhood currently eclipsed by road infrastructure back to life”, RSHP said.

RSHP has won a competition to create a mixed-use neighbourhood in Paris

The design will also embody the sustainability goals of La Défense (PLD), taking measures to minimise both its embodied and operational carbon emissions.

La Défense is aiming to “become the world’s first post-carbon business district”, RSHP said, meaning it is aiming to reduce its carbon emissions and fossil fuel dependency while continuing to grow.

Mixed-use facilities and public spaces will feature throughout

RSHP’s design is the winning entry of a competition held by the property development branch of BNP Paribas.

It is being developed with Paris architecture studio AREP and landscape architect Vogt. Engineering company Ingerop and consultants EODD and Socotec also form part of the team.


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“The project represents a significant challenge, occupying as it does an interstitial site currently dominated by large-scale infrastructure and marked by radical changes of level that are presently almost impossible to navigate,” said RSHP partner Stephen Barrett.

“Illustrating the fact that it is possible to transform such difficult environments into places where future generations can live and work well, delivering an inclusive, exemplary mixed-use low carbon development in the process, is precisely why we consider this project so important.”

A landscaped promenade will weave between two buildings

The main element of the proposal is a pair of buildings with prefabricated timber structures, designed to reduce both building waste, embodied carbon and construction time.

One of these will have a slender form accommodating 15 floors of residences, while the other will be low-lying with a stepped green roof and six to eight floors of flexible office space.

RSHP will integrate pedestrian and cycling routes

These buildings will flank a landscaped promenade, which will lead through a series of new public spaces including pocket parks. It will also connect with pedestrian and bike routes, as well as to the surrounding public transport network.

RSHP’s proposal will be complete with various mixed-use facilities for leisure, sport and entertainment. This will include a 1,400-square-metre food court, an indoor market, a roof terrace, climbing facilities, yoga spaces and a 250-square-metre events pavilion.

To achieve the district’s low-carbon goals, RSHP’s proposal focuses on using energy-efficient and passive design strategies and making use of recyclable internal fit-outs. Buildings will also be designed for future adaptation.

The design aims to bring the area “back to life”

RSHP was founded in London in 1977 by Richard Rogers with studios across London, Paris, Melbourne, Sydney, Shanghai, Shenzhen and New York.

Its proposal for La Défense forms part of the area’s wider scheme called Empreintes, which is focusing on transforming five urban sites with “innovative mixed-use, low-carbon projects”.

The studio has also recently unveiled its first residential design in New York City for a Manhattan penthouse and its proposal for a glazed office skyscraper in Shenzhen, China.

The images are courtesy of RSHP.

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