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The Greater Paris

TVK has worked since its earliest days on the Grand Paris/Greater Paris region, and been involved in different studies and projects from the Atelier International du Grand Paris in 2009 to the Atelier des Places du Grand Paris for the Société du Grand Paris (2017-2019).

Atelier International du Grand Paris 1/Greater Paris International Workshop (2009)


In the Greater Paris, a very paradoxical relation has come into being between essential themes to do with the metropolis, mobility and immobility, incarnated in particular in the system resulting from modernity which associates the network of high-speed roads and the large single-function phenomena represented by major complexes and industrial and business areas. Like involuntary monuments and territorial markers in the Ile-de-France, these spaces form an area of investigation for use by the project, with the purpose of transforming these abandoned terrains and rendering them more complex. By associating lines of mobility and the expanses which are adjacent to them—autarkic pieces, nowadays, of a system that is nevertheless global in its basic logic--, what is involved is stressing their accessibility and centrality, and thus permitting their intensification.

This research, conducted with Eric Lapierre, was the contribution of the working agency of the Groupe Descartes as part of the Greater Paris International Workshop in 2009.

Greater Paris International Workshop 2 (2012-2016) [AIGP]

The studies known as Habiter le Grand Paris/Living in Greater Paris and Systèmes Métropolitains du Grand Paris/Greater Paris Metropolitan Systems, undertaken within the Atelier International du Grand Paris, attempt to introduce new tools for describing and orienting the transition represented by the current phase of metropolization. The paradoxical gap between the planned aims and the capacity to achieve them (in 2014, only 30,000 housing units were built out of the annual 70,000 units aimed at by the 2013 SDRIF) expresses a gradually widening distance between the ineffective thinking about urbanism and urban development on the part of the public powers-that-be, and the fluid and unplanned transformations which are being introduced in the various regions.

Over and above the most famous operations—the increased number of centres which developmental and management thinking would like to scatter throughout the city area as an all-purpose, catch-all solution--, the specific nature of the metropolis thus seems to reside more in intermediate conditions. Living in metropolitan systems in fact means combining scales, conjugating forms of mobility, promoting collective life-styles, and making choices to do with hybrid spatial situations and arrangements.

So it is a matter of understanding what tools to use to align the official narrative with these discrete transitions, and how these latter may turn metropolization into a contextual transformation. More than through a new plan, today set for 2040, the narrative of the metropolis, with all its vagaries, uncertainties and latent aims, is asking to be imagined as a screenplay: with a cast of many players, open, and both forward- and backward-looking, making it possible to collectively steer the upcoming episodes of the Greater Paris saga.

Full study (FR): Transitions, Habiter les intermédiaires (2013)
Full study (FR): Système Ouvert, les nouveaux mondes du Grand Paris (2014)

Scenarising the effects of the Grand Paris Express (Greater Paris metro)

Nearly fifty years after the RER A train went into service, the arrival of the Grand Paris Express (Greater Paris metro) is poised to cause a major development of the Ile-de-France region. This study, undertaken with Acadie and GüllerGüller, is aimed at understanding the territorial effects of the new metro and its ability to re-fashion the Ile-de-France metropolis. Based on the ‘scenarisation’ method, making it possible to analyze these effects using a diverse range of viewpoints and in their differing time-frames, this research has helped to shed light on the fact that the various forms of impact of the metro happen well before it goes into service, because of phenomena of anticipation on the part of all the people involved in the metropolis, triggered by the announcement of its construction. It has led to describing the variable-geometry influences of this infrastructure on the way the metropolis works, fluctuating depending on which people are involved, the sections of lines, their date of operation and the existing geographies encountered by them. Lastly, it has led to an understanding of the different scales of  radiation of the Grand Paris Express (Greater Paris metro), which considerably exceeds the perimeters of the neighbourhoods around the station, as well as that of the institutional metropolis, and affects to a very considerable degree the whole of the metropolitan territory, as well as having an unequal impact on the Petite and Grande Couronnes—the adjacent and wider suburban areas around Paris.

Atelier des Places de Grand Paris/Greater Paris Public Place Workshop (2017-2019)


If the construction of the Grand Paris Express (Greater Paris metro) is poised to bring forth a new metropolitan geography, it is also bringing to the fore the crucial challenge of the role of the design of the public places which will go hand-in-hand with the arrival of the 65 new stations, and their incorporation in the metropolitan territory: intense places of exchange and movement, and interfaces between the large scale of the network and the specific situations of their reception areas, sites offering amenities, comfort and services, and standard-bearers of local geographies and landscapes… Aimed at defining the shared values and qualities and the design method shared by these public places, this study, conducted on behalf of the Société du Grand Paris, involves a huge multi-disciplinary team directed by TVK. It offers a chance to undertake applied research, and more fundamental reflective and forward-looking work, on the public place, linked with mobility and intermodal exchanges.

In accordance with the scenarisation approach developed by TVK, an initial period of collective studies has helped to define basics and plots orienting the future of these public places in Greater Paris, which are then tested in five case studies. Their challenge is to experiment with a new project approach to public places which takes into account the time and rhythms of territorial transformations. These examples will bring to the fore salient ideas and issues making it possible to produce a document—as a prelude to the eventual design—whose purpose is to facilitate the impending project task.

The line of thinking is organized around one or two powerful notions and ideas: the challenge of transforming the ground as nothing less than an architectural project; the matter of the scales and histories of the public places which will be dealt with in the various projects; the central role of the “metropolitan pedestrian”, the referent user in the design of public places; the importance of frugality and of the exploitation of existing resources with an eye on economics and ecology; and so on.


Greater Paris public spaces
Greater Paris public spaces

Team TVK

Pierre Alain Trévelo and Antoine Viger-Kohler (partners), Océane Ragoucy (director of strategy, research, development), David Enon (project manager), Sarah Sauton (project director), Alessandro delli Ponti and Rodrigo Apolaya