An interview with Alessandra Cianchetta, architect and founding partner of AWP, about La Défense in Paris, France. She explains that La Défense is an expansion of a very important, historic axis in Paris that runs westward from the Louvre. Post WWII and especially during the 50s, Paris no longer could accommodate enough businesses and the French State wanted to show an image of modernity with lots of steel and glass, and intense separation of flows, modes, and uses. La Défense is a monument to this idea—that this was a business district and nothing else. Considering the high degree of specialization it’s still a relatively lively place, contrasted with busy and calm periods. And on the weekends it’s a destination for a different population who don’t want to go to central Paris.
“The word masterplan is not that appealing because it suggests something rigid. Right now in urbanism we need something different, more like a tool or framework, something that can evolve and adapt to changes over time. Our goal is to create a tool that can evolve and encompass new changes and projects so that it’s not obsolete in a few years.”
GREAT AXIS Paris France ©AWP La Defense Defacto
Cover picture: PARKING SPACE Paris France ©AWP sbda