SO-IL Re-invents Place Mazas in Paris


View of site from south Rendering ©SO-IL

 

In Paris, it’s no longer just about Grands Projets. Lately, the French have become more focused on areas bordering the Seine River, and how to turn them into more attractive destinations for locals and visitors alike. The most recent projet, and the subject of a competition, was Place Mazas, located on the Right Bank of the Seine in the 12th District. Partially because of the bordering highway’s proximity to the river, the site is underused and hardly regarded as a high profile destination.

 

Now that may all change. The competition, won by the New York-based firm, SO-IL, has conceived a plan, which will create a series of park areas and structures relating to the current needs of the community. Sustainability is almost always on the front burner in these competitions, and this was no exception. SO-IL’s plan for the site’s only major building is a seven-story structure made primarily of wood. Although situated all by itself at the end of a street—bordering on the Seine—its shape and size serve to address the composition of the streetscape in a very logical, spatial manner. According to the intent of the winner, “This volume includes a housing program in co-living typology, with several interior and exterior shared spaces for the residents as well as a public restaurant on the ground floor.”

 

 



Arsenal Basin Rendering ©SO-IL

 

The rest of the site is devoted to “public activities,” opening up views to the Seine River and includes a repurposed 1905 lockhouse and a “temporary pavilion” hosting facilities like public co-working spaces, a fabricaion lab, an event room and a terrace offering views on the Arsenal Basin, the river, and the surrounding city, “as well as a facility for homeless care already established on site.” Labeling the pavilion as a “temporary” structure is based on the assumption that neighborhoods are always evolving, and that future changes could be in store.

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Toronto Ferry Terminal Competition

 

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Winning entry courtesy: KPMB Architects + West 8 + Greenberg Consultants

 

Access from downtown Toronto to its waterfront has been an ongoing issue for the city fathers for the past decades. One of the major visual barriers to Lake Ontario is the Gardiner Expressway, just a few blocks from the waterfront and the subject of a 2010 competition. It was abandoned with no premiated designs and no indication of future solution. Participants in that competition were familiar faces: KPMB + Bjarke Ingels Group, Rem Koolhaas/OMA, James Corner Field Operations, Diller Scofidio + Renfro/ Architects Alliance, West 8 DTAH/Cecil Balmond AGU, and Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (See: http://gardinereast.ca/design-ideas). Part of the problem with either burying the Gardiner or eliminating it altogether within the central core did not have so much to do with political will, but the lack of funding at the municipal level.

 

One piece of the puzzle has now been addressed—the ferry terminal on the waterfront and its environs. Although the site is confined to a relatively small area, the vision for rethinking the possibilities of making it more pedestrian and user-friendly have been the subject of a recent competition, with five invited firms vying for the opportunity to realize their proposals.

 

What made this competition so interesting were not only the challenges of packing a number of required elements into a relatively small site—without giving the impression of crowd congestion—but also the organized flow of several thousand departing (and arriving) passengers headed for offshore islands and other destinations on Lake Ontario. Combined with all that were the aesthetics—the visual impressions of arrival, departure and a park-like setting, as well as the location of the necessary terminal structure(s).

 

The competition itself was launched as an RfQ, with five shortlisted firms invited to present schemes in a single-stage competition. They were:

Stoss Landscape Urbanism (Boston) + nARCHITECTS (New York City) + ZAS

Architects (Toronto)

Clement Blanchet Architecture (Paris) + Batlle i Roig (Barcelona) + RVTR (Toronto and Ann Arbor) + Scott Torrance Landscape Architect Inc. (Toronto)

• Diller Scofidio+Renfro (New York City) + architectsAlliance (Toronto) + Hood Design (Emeryville, CA)

KPMB Architects (Toronto), West 8 (Rotterdam), Greenberg Consultants (Toronto)

Quadrangle Architects (Toronto), aLLDesign (London), Janet Rosenberg & Studio (Toronto)

 

 

The major departure features of all but one of the entries were the location of two-tier structures directly across from the ferry docks, with two having large canopies as shelter, and two providing rooftop parks with outlooks to the Lake. One of the latter was the winner of the competition, KPMB of Toronto with landscape architecture firm West 8 of Rotterdam and Greenberg Consultants (planning) of Toronto.

 

KPMB’s main entrance to the Ferry Terminal from Bay Street is a parklike entrance, creating a promenade eventually leading to an entrance to the processing area for passengers, with the option to climb up an elevated rooftop extension of the park where one finds a meandering pathway leading to a lookout area. From the eastern side, the path is also accessible from Yonge Street, also leading into the park. Parking is located under a hill in the park, with ticket processing and waiting areas for the boats located under the park extension canopy. The area to the west of the Terminal is a generous park area, which includes a slip for recreational craft.
KPMB’s meeting with planning and port authorities after winning the competition was instructional for the subject matter discussed: most of the emphasis concerned the ability of the facility to accommodate increasing numbers of visitors in the future. Aesthetics were a low priority in the discussion, an indication that financial issues were not a serious problem at this development stage of the process.

 

 

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Winning entry courtesy: KPMB Architects + West 8 + Greenberg Consultants

 

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Interview: John McAslan (Winter 2003)

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COMPETITIONS: I am presently here in London to talk to my editor about a ‘how to’ book we are doing on competitions.

 

JOHN MCASLAN: And how not to do them, I hope.

 

COMPETITIONS: You’re familiar with one of those?

 

JM: We recently did one—Middlesborough Town Hall. It caused a real furor here.

 

COMPETITIONS: Usually the RIBA competitions are well organized.


Science Center, Florida Southern College (1996-2001)

 

JM: This was an open, non-RIBA competition to re-market (rebuild) the Town Hall in Middlesborough, a town which had quite a good artistic tradition. About ten years ago they commissioned Claes Oldenburg to design a sculpture. There was also a competition for a museum there—which we didn’t get. And then there was the competition for the Town Hall, where we got to the last six. It was chaotic, as to what was to be submitted. There was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, because the terms of reference weren’t clear. And then there were long delays before the interviews. Finally we were asked to submit a tender(fee bid). But of the six tenders, only four arrived on time. Because of that, the two late tenderers were eliminated. I thought, ‘well, you know you have to get them in on time.’ But then one of the jurors walked out, because she thought it unfair that these two had been eliminated. Then it came out that they had opened the bids before the interviews took place.
We were only runners-up; but the whole thing has caused chaos because of the sloppiness with which the whole thing was organized. They should have selected the preferred team , then opened the bids.

You asked about the RIBA competitions. We have won some and lost a some. But you can say that they are always immaculately organized—very transparent, no confusion over what is required when. If a competition is badly administered with lots of criticism, it doesn’t help at all, especially with funding.

 

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Science Center, Florida Southern College (1996-2001) Lab interior (left) and model (right)

 

COMPETITIONS: You were recently in the Fresh Kills competition in the U.S.

 

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Tintagel Bridge Castle Competition

An Adventure of the First Order

The Tintagel Castle Bridge Design Competition

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©William Matthews Associates; courtesy MRC

Out-of-the-way places can be serious destinations, especially when they embody an object of historical significance. The medieval Tintagel Castle site is certainly one of these examples, attracting scores of visitors every year. Although only now a ruin, its history, linked to the tales of King Arthur, is certainly the tale which can be of interest to any serious English history buff. But getting to the crest of the hill cliff where it is located is only something for the hardy. The problem has been the steep ascent to the site, which could only be reached via a circuitous winding pathway. To address this issue, a new bridge in a more advantageous location was proposed to replace an existing, somewhat rickety span.
Organized by Malcolm Reading Consultants, this competition’s call for expressions of interest drew 137 responses, with six firms being shortlisted for the design competition phase. At the conclusion of the adjudication process, the jury announced the team of Ney & Partners with William Matthews Associates as winners. The other finalists, without ranking, were:

  • Dietmar Feichtinger Architectes with Terrell
  • Marks Barfield Architects with Flint and Neill J&L Gibbons LLP and Mola
  • Niall McLaughlin Architects with Price and Myers
  • RFR and Jean-Francois Blassel Architecte with Engineershrw and WSP
  • WilkinsonEyre with Atelier One

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Taiwan’s Taoyuaong Airport Terminal 3 Competition

 

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If you are flying either into or departing from Taiwan after the year 2020, you may
wish to arrange your flight so that you either arrive or leave in the evening, as it could well be an unforgettable experience. The winning design by Rogers Stirk Harbour of London for the new Terminal 3 promises an illuminating show that can match that of Curt Fentress’s Denver airport.
As an international open competition, and for a project of this magnitude, it was astonishing to find that only four international firms decided to enter this contest. According to one juror, the posting of a $500,000 bond required of serious contenders was probably enough to scare off most firms. This is not to say that the final four lacked expertise in the area. The only firm from Stage 1 not shortlisted, ADPI of Paris, had numerous completed large commissions to its credit. And due to the very extensive experience of the other firms, it could be anticipated that the quality of the entries would be more than adequate.

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Seaplane Terminal Competition: A Catalyst for Watson Island Waterfront

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Embarcation as the Ultimate Experience: The Kaohsiung Port and Cruise Terminal Competition

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by Stanley Collyer

 


Image: ©Reiser+Umemoto RUR with Fei & Cheng Associates’ winning design (model perspective)


Many buildings in close proximity to bodies of water seem to have that joie de vivre about them. Whether it is Sea Ranch, The Bilbao Guggenheim, Oslo Opera House or summer residences in the Hamptons, the proximity of water somehow manages to stimulate designers to produce excitement in a relaxed atmosphere. From the Greek temples to Spas in England, construction of major structures on oceans and rivers was always more likely to reflect modern trends in architecture, rather than simply replicating a style from the past. Recent waterfront projects such as the Yokohama International Port Terminal—a competition won by Foreign Office Architects—and Canada Place in Vancouver are examples of cities recognizing the need to push the envelope when redesigning port terminal facilities. So it was with the results of the
Kaohsiung Port and Cruise Service Center competition .

Not only is Kaohsiung a major port facility on the island, it is seen as a major terminal for future water transit to the Chinese mainland. The goal of the competition was to identify a design that will enhance the travel experience of passengers, make it a principal departure destination for cruise ships, and provide recreational opportunities for the local populace. Moreover, it is understood that the new facility should add to the urban vitality of the immediate vicinity.

 


Aerial view of site

The Site

The entire Harbor site consists of an area measuring 6+ hectares, of which only 2.6 hectares was designated as the competition site for the project’s first phase. As might be expected, the site included two berths for ocean liners. Since the program was quite extensive, the major challenge was to design a facility which would fit well into a rather limited site, but present a friendly face both to the city and from the water.

Similar to many recent international competitions in Taiwan administered by competition adviser, Barry Cheng, this one was conducted in two stages, with five finalists advancing to the second stage for the ultimate prize—an $80M commission. The seven-member jury did have an international flavor, most notably Maximiliano Fuksas (Italy), Hisao Kohyama (Japan), and Hitoshi Abe (USA). During stage two, only six jurors provided comments, as Maximiliano Fuksas could not attend the final session. The five premiated finalists chosen by the first-stage panel and their final rankings after the second stage were:

 

First Prize
Reiser+Umemoto RUR Architecture PC, New York, NY
with Fei & Cheng Associates/Philip T.C. Fei, Taiwan

• Second Prize
Asymptote Architecture, New York, NY
with Artech Architects/Kris Yao, Taiwan

• Third Prize
Ricky Liu & Associates Architects+Planners, Taiwan
with Takenaka Corporation/Masahiro Morita, Japan

Honorable Mention-1
JET Architecture Inc./Edward Kim. Canada
with CXT Architects Inc./Dan Teh, Canada and Archasia Design Group/Sao-You, Taiwan

Honorable Mention-2
HMC Group Inc. / Raymond Pan, Los Angeles, California
with HOY Architects & Associates/Charles Hsueh, Taiwan


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