Nanterre Papeterie Takes Students to Paris
As instructors of the fall 2013 Core Design V studio titled Nanterre Papeterie: Towards a New Urban Climate (PDF), visiting critic Alessandra Cianchetta of AWP and Jeremy Foster, assistant professor in architecture, took their class to Paris for a firsthand examination of their site of inquiry — a former papeterie, or paper factory, in Nanterre, an industrial and working class suburb where a westward urban axis that originates in the Louvre and the Tuileries terminates on the banks of the Seine.
The studio's challenge was to reinvent the 40-hectare paper factory as a research and learning campus that contributes to the social and economic integration of Paris's center and periphery as proposed by the recently launched Grande Paris plan, while reflecting current sustainable practices and preserving something of the site's social and economic history.
During the trip to Paris, students not only visited the Nanterre site and the offices of several important urban designers, but also explored a wide range of other relevant sites in and around Paris currently being re-envisioned and reprogrammed. These included iconic public spaces dating from different historic periods, such as the Place de la République (early 1800s), the Palais de Tokyo (1930s), and La Défense (1970s, currently the subject of a comprehensive study by AWP). A highlight of the trip was a visit to the groundbreaking Paris la Nuit exhibition, also curated and designed by AWP, at the Pavillon de l'Arsenal.