The call for projects ‘Reinventer Paris’ was entitled to generate new concepts for 23 sites by interdisciplinary teams comprising architects, project developers, artists, and landscape developers. The call for projects for the complex on Morland Boulevard is secured by the team David Chipperfield Architects Berlin and the French developer Emerige.
Located on Morland Boulevard along the banks of the River Seine in the 4th Arrondissement of Paris is the former ‘Prefecture de Paris’ building. It was completed around 1960 by architect Albert Laprade and housed the city administration. The original complex was a 23-storey building bordered on each side by a 9-storey wing, forming a square facing the boulevard. The grand scale of the building and the ubiquitous facade grid led to a closed-off and unapproachable appearance of the complex.
The new Morland Mixite Capitale is the outcome of the remodeling, refurbishment, and extension of the existing buildings and is named La Felicite on an opening day. The complex is made accessible to the public and converted into an open and lively space that exudes a positive effect on the overall neighborhood. The city repair is further taken into account with two new building volumes facing the boulevard and river Seine and positioned between the scale of the neighboring and existing buildings.
The Morland Boulevard and River Seine are connected through a passage via a public axis created by raising the new building volumes from the ground level. The passage is characterized by load bearing and vaulted arcades at the ground floor level which act as a counterpart to the precise column grid of the existing structure. The arcades impart a welcoming effect to the design and guide the passers-by into the interior of the complex.
The act of preserving and further developing the existing structure supports the concept of sustainability and ensures urban continuity. Wherever possible the building is repaired instead of being replaced to keep the existing fabric intact. The energy cycle of Morland Boulevard is based on heat exchange and a closed Phyto-purification system for urban gardening on the roof which ensures low energy and resource consumption.
The complex is a mixed-use project, composed of affordable and upscale housing, a youth hostel, offices, a hotel, a gallery, retail, a market hall, and a childcare facility. The two upper storeys are accessible to the public again and house an inhabitable art installation by Olafur Eliasson and Sebastian Behmann from Studio Other Spaces Berlin – a bar and restaurant. The wide vistas over the city can be enjoyed by the inhabitants and visitors from these floors.