Launched in 2008, the operation is located in the heart of a dynamic district with an abundant heritage. The project is developing through several capacity studies and programmatic scenarios developed by SRA Architectes. MVRDV joined the project in 2009, and developed a strong concept for the contracting authority Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield: giving the block a human scale, opening it up to the city by staging each component.
The objective of this renovation is twofold: to renew the image of the Gaîté Montparnasse block without distorting the initial project.
From 2010, the two agencies mentioned above are developing the studies jointly, on the basis of a dialogue conducted with Unibail-Rodamco-Westfiteld and the City of Paris, which is moving the program towards greater diversity. The contracting authority imagined the rehabilitation of a mixed program with the main use of shops, offices, a hotel and housing. This renovation is part of the need to readjust the scale of the site to its environment, breaking with the architecture of the slabs of the 1970s by offering individual access to each entity and by connecting the block and its district to the pedestrian ladder.
The fragmentation of the facades, in the form of a patchwork of "boxes" allows to find a more human scale and to remedy the uniformity and the closed aspect of the block.
This daring concept supported by MVRDV and Winy Maas, restores a strong identity to the island and the wide choice of materials used reflects the variety of functions.
Together, the roof and facade form a rich three-dimensional world, like a mini-city. These become a veritable urban theatre, with users becoming the main actors.
Particular attention is paid to the architectural treatment of entrances and facades, in a logic of program differentiation and enhancement of entrances. These are provided for in the façade plan.
An example of a fine demonstration of the word “diversity” in the heart of Paris.
Visuals ©: SRA Architects