L’Atelier de l’Arsenal offers a fresh approach to urbanism, one that carefully considers contemporary and historical contexts while creating a flexible infrastructure that can evolve in parallel with the city.
The focus of our proposal is the transformation of the underused site of Place Mazas into a new social node for Paris. Located at the juncture of Canal Saint Martin and the Seine River, the site forms a critical intersection of cultural, economic, and environmental networks. It is also strategically positioned at the center of important future development projects like the Balade de L’Arsenal, a new urban path, and the new pedestrian waterfront park, Parc Rives de Seine.
The site is divided into two parts. The first is a seven-story volume that continues the historical Haussmannian axis and tops out just below its neighboring 19th-century residential building. This volume includes a housing program in co-living typology, with several interior and exterior shared spaces for the residents and a public restaurant on the ground floor.
The second, located on the axis of Bastille, is dedicated to public activities. It maintains a lower profile, opening up views to the Seine River. This part of the site includes three new public squares, a lock house built in 1905 that is being repurposed, and a temporary pavilion that will host facilities like public co-working spaces, a fabrication lab, an event room, and an exterior terrace offering new views on the Arsenal Basin, the Seine, and the surrounding city, as well as a facility for homeless care already established on site.
Our proposal creates a flexible composition of spaces and buildings that stimulates diversity and anticipates further civic transformations. We understand that urban space doesn’t stop evolving; after twelve years the public zone may be returned to the city, offering the opportunity to update its use once more.
Sustainability is a driver of the project. The design represents a new relationship to the waterfront as Paris works to create a swimmable river in the near future. Included on the site are a public swimming pool, as well as a pool for biodiversity research, and water quality monitoring. The proposal’s housing is constructed from locally sourced timber, and its temporary pavilion features a demountable structure made of renewable materials, facilitating urban growth while decreasing environmental impact.