Wednesday, June 24, 2009

In the 1850s, Baron Haussmann gave Paris the Kärcher treatment, carving wide boulevards through the fabric of the city, and creating diagonals that link key points of interest.

The facades along these boulevards were made available to developers who, according to strict guidelines, gave Paris its modern-day identity. I have always been amazed that people actually live in apartments behind these ornate windows in the city-center.
Photo from
While the triangles created by Haussmann give Paris many Gridiron buildings, I have wondered how the architects at the time articulated spaces behind the street facades and in the center of these triangles. Working on a SoHo project in junior studio last semester I realized that even in the New York grid there are awkward alleys and hollow spaces that only Google Earth reveals. Vito Acconci has been very interested in these forgotten urban spaces.
I see from my office window what happens when the ornate facades are projected backward into the triangular space. Small courtyards with tall concrete walls and strange corners intersecting one another tell the story of an older, more congested Paris.

No comments:

Post a Comment