– Authors: Layla Abdul-Karim, Valentine Machet, Marius Morand, Djuna Patin
– Function: ENSAPM students
– Site location: Grande Ceinture de Paris, Champigny-sur-Marne
– Year: 2014
– Institution: Studio project (ENSAPM, P5 – Visions Périphériques, licence 3)
– Contacts: firstname.lastname@example.org
– Tutors: Bruno-Jean Hubert, Arnaud Bical
Walk the line
The Paris Grande Ceinture is an old railroad built in the 1870s, circling the city of Paris 15 km above the Boulevard Périphérique, which follows the city limit. Originally built as a traveler line supposed to relieve the saturated public transports in the capital, it quickly became a freight-exclusive suburban line. Reaching its maximum capacity in the 40s, it slowly declined until today. Where the project takes place, only 10 trains run each day on a section that crosses the whole city from south to north.
The underlying beauty
As a starting point, we chose three wastelands of variant sizes directly connected to the railroad. These relics of a past era of industrial production, initially built for basic storage or separation purposes, displayed a high potential for new uses. A meticulous inventory allowed to analyze their spatial qualities: vast storage rooms supported by a robust steel framework, large ballasts invaded by wild vegetation and high trees with panoramic views on the city… We thought that all the energy put in for their construction would have been wasted if they had been destroyed.In order to generate new uses for these places, we looked into solutions to reuse as much of the existing as possible materials to transform these sites into new active spots (sports area, green promenade, shopping street) connected to the city though a continuous walking and cycling path.