A Water Project: Network Mapping + Re-use of Water Reservoirs in Central Paris

New York/Paris

Spring 2013

Alessandra Cianchetta, critic

The studio addressed the question of re-using partially abandoned and under-used infrastructures located in the heart of the city to propose sustainable and innovative mixed-used programs to support their transformation. The studio explored macro-infrastructural networks, urban analysis and the issue of reusing existing infrastructures in innovative ways taking into account their heritage/historical aspects as well as their overground and underground morphology.

The city of Paris has a network of about a dozen non-potable water reservoirs and 1700 kilometers of underground canals, all built under Haussmann and using the water proceeding from the river Seine and the Ourcq Canal. Today such a network is under exploited and economically unsustainable. Various studies have been carried over the last thirty years to provide perspective for future uses and reconversions. Dismantling the network is economically unviable, and its renovation seems a plausible solution. However, beyond the re-use of the emptied surfaces of the reservoirs, new uses of the network at the macro-scale have to be considered. Preliminary proposals and talks to renovate the empty spaces of the abandoned reservoirs include: green space areas, student housing, libraries, schools and other public services. However the preliminary results have been, so far rather conventional and the vision behind them, unchallenging. Within this framework, the Studio became an inspiring and thoroughly radical think tank to propose alternative and creative visions for both the reservoir areas and, at a bigger scale, for the network.

Caroline Inglis A
Tatiana Baglioni B/C