For years the lower bank of the Seine have been the property of cruise shipping lines where barges offloaded their cargo. The pedestrianisation of one of the “world’s most picturesque urban riverside”, from the Pont de l’Arsenal to the Eiffel Tower, is the biggest urban project currently conducted by the city of Paris. Covering up to 6 kilometers in total, this green border will create a new relation between parisians and their river.
As an appetizer of the next “Reinventer la Seine” competition (“Reinventing Paris 2016” call for projects), Clément Blanchet Architecture aims to reinvent the barge in the 21st century in a highly functional, diverse, and sustainable form. Our territory of experimentation is one of the most incredible site in the world; along the Quai de Suffren, under the Pont d’Iena and neighbor to the Eiffel Tower.
As a train station, a modern riverboat terminal has to mix multiple identities and urban functions in one structure: retails, restaurants, cultural events. The new Vedettes de Paris Riverboat Terminal, where the bateaux mouches start their trips on the Seine, is a moment to create a highly sustainable and engaging development for Paris’s citizens and its tourists. It is a creation of a contemporary structure that sees, and can be seen.
The project is composed of two independent floating platforms able to merge, hosting large scale events. “We wanted to get back to the essence of the “Vedettes de Paris”: it is a bridge between the travelling experience and the city of Paris. Our first goal was to elevate the platform to free the sight and deliver transparency from the docks to the boats and the Seine” said Clément Blanchet.
The purpose of the project is to reinterpret the invariants of the past with a contemporary logic. It is inspired by “La Belle Epoque” period. Les Vedettes de Paris became a destination: a lookout on Paris, stable, solid, immovable. The raised platform can accommodate all the events of the city. A flexible space offered to the urban imagination, the dynamics of a city, a territory of possibles.
“The structure supporting the platform is a tribute to Gustave Effeil. We have been inspired by his structural aesthetic, his technical honsety.” said Clément Blanchet. “The main pontoon was designed to enhance the interaction between commercial and visitor flows. Thanks to the elevated beam there are no columns on the main deck, allowing to configure the entire space based on a seasonal commercial logic.”
While the new headquarter is a unique and iconic structure, its character and essence are rooted in making the Seine’s landscape accessible to the public. Through seasonal programmed activities the platform will showcase parisian epicurism. A place dedicated to both discovery and trade. Source by Clement Blanchet Architecture.
Location: Paris, France
Architects: Clement Blanchet Architecture
Engineering: Bollinger + Grohmann & Pandora Marine
Scenography: Ducks scéno
Facades and sustainability: Staff Planète & VS-A
Client: Vedettes de Paris
Status: Competition – 2nd
Program: 3500 m2 (restaurant, offices, retails, etc…)
Images: Courtesy of Clement Blanchet Architecture