Petite Ceinture

Paris XIV

Project

Creation of two access points and planning of temporary activities for a stretch of a disused railway, ahead of its permanent re-opening to the public.

Location

Petite Ceinture, rue Didot (Paris 14th)

Year

2016

Client

Ville de Paris

Design Team

Julien Gougeat (architect), Benjamin Testa (artist/designer), La Condition Urbaine (sociologist)

Size

4 000 m2

Mission

Urban programmation and implementation of the temporary project

Project status

Competition

 

Sometimes hidden, sometimes elevated, often invisible, the “Petite Ceinture” railway belt raises numerous planning issues. Connected to the national rail network when it was formerly in use, it now exists as an isolated piece of infrastructure. For our collective, the steep-sided stretch of the 14th arrondissement poses above all the question of how to reclaim a somewhat neglected space, no longer part of the active rail network, but a space belonging to the wider Parisian public. How to alter and make the most of a site whose value lies in its very inaccessibility, its untouched quality? How to share with the public an experience which is by definition the privilege of those who, thanks to a gap in the railing, have at one time or another strolled along “la Petite Ceinture”.

 

Our proposal is both radical and sober:

-Access: create physical points of entry to this steep-sided site;

-Activation: reveal the site identity, and sketch out possible long-term uses in partnership with local initiatives and events.

 

Our architectural project consists of not just one, but two entrances to the site, to encourage journeys along the length of it and propose different experiences, either playful or contemplative. The design of these will strictly define the way in which visitors approach the site. A slide could heighten the instantaneous immersion in the greenery of the little belt, simultaneously creating a district-wide attraction. On the other hand, graded steps might recreate the gradual progression of those who for a long time had to scramble down to the track in the manner of an adventurer.

© Julien Gougeat