Le Parc de La Villette – a landscape for the 21st century

Is Future Aging?

What happens to future when a brand-new generation of toddlers has arrived to look at it? When the avantgarde of two generations ago is walking grandchildren through the landscapes of old-but-bold dreams as, for example, at Le parc de la Villette in Paris’ 19th arrondissement?

Géode(1)

The small ones will wonder at the spectacular, shiny mirror which their avantgarde grandparents point out to them and they’ll take the kaleidoscopic reflections of La Géode for the real thing: the multi-faceted urban reality of Le Parc de La VilletteAdobePhotoshopExpress_03ae20efdde649b89414371fb0302da3

La Géode touches the eye with 6.433 triangles of preformed polished stainless steel on its perfectly smooth, shimmering surface and it reflects the surrounding world like a fortune teller’s magic sphere. Designed and constructed by the brothers Fainsilber, it opened as a 360° cinema-house in 1984, with a hemispherical screen of enormous 1000 m² and 26 m in diameter. Some steps further and La Géode mysteriously vanishes into the northeast Parisian sky – only to jump at the scene again behind the next bend of the path, like an apparition.

AdobePhotoshopExpress_2b5f15e4538e415dbb05fe39d6ed296e

The Parc de La Villette surpasses the traditional idea of nature to be embedded into the cityscape. Rather, the architect (Tschumi, 1984) envisioned the site of former meat-markets and second-empire slaughter-houses as an urban landscape where natural and artificial elements are brought alive together. Still, of the 55 hectare some 34  are dedicated to large, green surfaces which inspire Parisians to gather and interact or just to relax and meditate.The park hosts all kinds of events and activities such as game playing, exercising, entertainment, markets and has the Museum of Technology and Science and the City of Music on site, additionally.

AdobePhotoshopExpress_e027f6162a3841da83469e7ddaa751c5

Museum of Technology and Science

In a way, the Parc de La Villette  is a puzzling space and often it resembles a very big, ‘jumpy’ and discontinuous building  which meanders unpredictably around numerous open-air spaces which were categorized as ‘surfaces’ by the architect. It somehow displays an urban structure which incessantly suggests social and cultural interactions to the visitor but at the same time leaves the choice to himself.

AdobePhotoshopExpress_e41958583f1c4b5c9daaf52d23a4c707

The vast site of La Villette is structured by 35 red objects, all of them being 10x10x10 metre cubes or three-storey constructions. They were named ‘Folies’ by  the architect and every 120 metres people may stumble on such a folly which helps to regain orientation where open space, movement and interaction seem to have merged in a futuristic way.

At the Parc de La Villette the future has just begun, it’s fresh and young for grandparents and grandchildren alike.

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s