En Fr
  • 1.

    The Sensual City path

  • 2.

    The climate

  • 3.

    Built landscapes

  • 4.

    On the waterside

    Collected, transported and shared, water is fundamental to urban life. In the centuries before pipes and taps individualised our relations to water, the well and the fountain organised the life of communities, making water an element of sociability. Water was also the organiser of major communications routes assuring the transport of merchandise, people and knowledge.
    But, in today’s world, the city seems obsessed by its fear of water: flooding, pollution, sanitary risks, hygiene, drinking water, clean rivers, the drying out of water tables and so on.
    It is necessary to rediscover the magic that water can represent. Lying behind the mundanity of our relationship to water there is a trace of an urban imagination forged by water. This, for example, is the case of port towns with their dreams of distant exotic seas. The water flowing down rivers reflect the passage of time and forgetfulness. The water of lakes evokes contemplation and the assuaging of the senses, while the waves breaking on the beaches next to urban centres conjure up ideas of leisure and joy. All these various types of water are simply aspects of a single and same element that increases the city’s fluidity and depth.

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        FURNITURE 108

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        T X T

        Competition │ Chicago │ USA │ 2011

        Extending an approach we have taken in a number of urban projects, we consider that each urban situation provides an opportunity to explore a conceptual framework based on the way people will inhabit the city of tomorrow. Our starting point is to examine current and potential future ways of living, working, traveling, and consuming in the city. The aim, prior to designing form, is to create an environment that permits diversity and changing uses, and to incorporate these into a specific geographical and historical context. The intention is to replace a geometric urbanism with one based on atmosphere, materiality, and context in a way that intermingles architecture and landscape, and uses potential technologies to create a sensual city.
        The Sensual City is a project that answers the urgent question of what urban planning should be for the 21st century. The urban culture of the last one hundred years has steadily expanded, with over half of the world’s population now living in cities, a proportion that is continually increasing and causing functional problems on an unprecedented scale. It is a situation that threatens our planet’s resources, as well as the way we live together in cities.
        In the Western world, there is a need to go beyond the traditional model of European and American urbanism and take a fresh look not only at the city core, but also the suburbs, infrastructures, and transit systems, and accept that they represent a fully-fledged contemporary urban landscape. In the next thirty years, hundreds of millions of people will find themselves living in an exclusively urban web, an artificial universe in which technology will be omnipresent. The Modernist city, placing emphasis on structure and zoning, will propogate its Internationalist architecture throughout the planet and mass-produce urban worlds lacking in comfort or context. Acknowledging this, each new project provides us with an opportunity to innovate and place emphasis on qualitative exemplarity: in this respect, the Navy Pier project is an outstanding one.
        With the Sensual City, our intention is to develop an alternative approach, one in which technology is not obtrusive nor an end in itself. On the contrary, it allows people to live in cities construed as responsive landscapes, designed to offer full sensorial experiences. The city becomes an environment incorporating sustainability and practicality, a setting where people can take pleasure in living together and be rooted in a specific culture, climate, and geography.
        We believe these values align with those of Navy Pier’s Centennial Vision, in that we both aim to create surprising and interactive public space – one that fully engages both tourists and Chicagoans. Similar to our propsoals for the Aerospace Campus in Toulouse, the Jiading High Tech Park in Shanghai, or our competition entry for the Seguin Island master plan in Paris, we seek to alter the perceived boundaries between architecture, nature, and technology.

        I M G
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  • 5.

    In the sky

  • 6.

    Movement and balance

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  • 8.

    The materiality of cities

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