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SO-IL and Laisné Roussel Win Competition to Develop Strategic Riverfront Site in Paris

New York-based architecture firm SO-IL and Paris-based firm Laisné Roussel architects have won an international competition, organized by the city of Paris, to design a new masterplan for Plaze Mazas along the Seine River. The new plan, titled “L’Atelier de l’Arsenal”, considers both contemporary and historical context of the site and proposes flexible infrastructure solutions.
The architects seek to transform the site which is exactly located at the intersection of the Seine River with Canal Saint Martin into a new social node for the French capital city. The site is already surrounded by major development projects like Balade de L’Arsenal, Rives de Seine Park, giving it further strategic value.

Courtesy of SO-IL and Laisné Roussel

“We are very excited to work on such a unique site in Paris,” said Ilias Papageorgiou, Partner at SO-IL. “Our proposal suggests a dynamic approach in city making, one that considers history as well as the complexity of today’s conditions while allowing room to accommodate future transformation.”

The new plan divides the site into two zones. The first one comprises a seven-storey residential building which complements the historical Haussmanian axis. The building includes co-living units as well as interior and exterior shared spaces for its residents. This is in addition to a public restaurant located on its ground floor.

Courtesy of SO-IL and Laisné Roussel

The other zone, which is located on the Bastille axis, introduces three new public squares. It will host public facilties, like a temporary pavilion with co-working spaces, a fabrication lab, an event room, and a terrace viewing the Arsenal Basin, the river, and the city. There is, also, the century-old lockhouse which is being repurposed and an already-established homeless care center.

In addition to the two main zones, the design proposes to enliven the waterfront area by introducing public swimming pools as well as pools for biodiversity and water research. This is in hopes for turning the Seine into a swimmable river in the near future.
“The design of the Atelier de L’Arsenal is motivated by our conviction that architecture is everyone’s business,” said Nicolas Laisné and Dimitri Roussel, partners at laisné roussel. “In our view, urban resilience and the collective practices developed for and by users are two major challenges for the cities of tomorrow.”

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