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Location: Paris, France
Year: 1999

Symbolic of the rise and fall of the mechanical-industrial era is the implosion that Jean Baudrillard observed in the high-tech container of the Centre Pompidou. While the Pompidou symbolizes the machine and the end of the twentieth century, our project symbolizes a different kind of implosion: a shift from the Marxist dialectic of the mechanical industrial era to the Darwinian flow of the biological and informational, a new kind of Darwinian historicism. Here, forms are like the genetic codes of organic Paris; they are the biomorphological permutations of an emerging city.

Roland Barthes said that the view from the Eiffel Tower condenses Paris into a new cognitive map. Our project extends this idea and makes the roof the major façade when seen both from the Eiffel Tower and the interior space. Thus, the view from the Eiffel Tower is of a “building space” where landscape gardens flow into building volume, blurring the cognitive mapping of figure and ground. As the sinews and tendons of this urban biological anatomy split apart, they reveal a mirror image of the Eiffel Tower. The roof forms speak of a new coding of the two different end typologies, the public courtyard and the private residence.

For Walter Benjamin, the arcades of Paris represented the frozen deposits of the prehistory of modernity; fossil-like coral fixed in time. For the Surrealists Aragon and Breton, however, the arcades were biological mutations, shimmering apparitions in underwater dreams. Our work reproduces the arcades as flowing forms not by using their former aura but by with working their original code to produce a new template.



Model photos