On March 13, 2018, it was announced that a team led by Bouygues Immobilier UrbanEra—the community development arm of Bouygues Group had been selected by the Ville de Charenton and Grand Paris Amenagement as the preferred redevelopment team for the Charenton-Bercy project on the eastern edge of Paris.
The team included Chicago-based Skidmore Owings and Merrill LLP (SOM), architects-urbanists-landscape designers Ateliers 2/3/4/, multidisciplinary practice AREP Group, and community think tank Le Grand Reservoir. Launching immediately, the project is one of 52 government initiatives on the outskirts of Paris that collectively make up the Grand Paris redevelopment plan for the wider metropolis.
“The SOM and Ateliers 2/3/4/ plan delivers a significant new identity for Charenton-Bercy,” stated Emmanuel Desmaizieres, CEO of Bouygues Immobilier UrbanEra. “The plan builds upon Grand Paris Amenagement’s goals of linking Central Paris to its suburban neighbors.”
Established as part of the developer bid process, the SOM-led master plan proposes a highly connected urban district incorporating a 180-meter-tall, net-zero-energy hotel and residential tower, and a contemporary circular building that will form the heart of a new virtual reality tech hub for the city.
“The plan extends local street Rue Baron-Le-Roy into the site to create a Paris-Charenton commercial linkage,” added Florian Luneau of architectural practice Ateliers 2/3/4/. “In addition to this, a landscaped garden bridge over active railway tracks connects people in the local area from the Bois de Vincennes to the River Seine.”
At the heart of the redevelopment, the highly sustainable tower sits at the intersection of three key circulation routes established by the master plan. The tower is carefully integrated into the development at ground level, with a new plaza creating urban life for Charenton while providing a human scale.
The tower also creates a new model for living in Paris, with loft-like apartments fronting suspended gardens high above the street. “As part of a wider environmental strategy, the tower at Charenton-Bercy will become one of the most sustainable buildings in Europe,” said SOM Associate Director Yasemin Kologlu.
In dialogue with the tower, a circular building called “Neo” is planned. It will form the heart of a new digital hub for eastern Paris. Designed to respond to its 360-degree context, the timber frame building is raised on two sides to create a public courtyard and an open view to the Seine. An interactive facade will animate the building and reveal the innovative virtual reality work occurring within.
“In scripting the overall master plan, we saw our role as bringing a fresh perspective from an international point of view, refined in close collaboration with our local team to provide a sensitive integration within the existing community,” said SOM Director Daniel Ringelstein.
Images courtesy of SOM.