Kathryn Gustafson has been talking about it a few days ago, when she won the call to tender, launched last year by the Paris city Hall for the redevelopment of the area surrounding the Eiffel tower. The architect and landscape architect american provides, in particular, to make the public space a passer-by, in piétonnisant several places and végétalisant the bridge of Jena. Of future development that raise the ire of some drivers, while the area is already very congested. For Le Figaro , Kathryn Gustafson explains his love for Paris and its way to consider the evolution of the city in the years to come.
LE FIGARO. – What is it that made you want to participate in this great project?
Kathryn Gustafson. – I am franco-american and I studied at the national School of landscape of Versailles years ago. At the time, I lived in White square, north of Paris, and I took a train that was going to the Trocadéro. Then, I went down the stairs, I walked across the Seine to take my train, which is today on the RER C and go to Versailles. I spent every morning and every night. It is the site that taught me what the French landscape, and the picturesque garden. When the contest came, I went back and I found that it was in a very bad state, very damaged by the overflow of tourists. It was not built to receive as much. I want to see him with new materials, a more sustainable, more green, more resilient. Furthermore, the cars take up so much space that the pedestrians are concentrated in places very narrow. I want to rebalance the sharing of the space.
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“I want to create a large square in front of the military School, to organize events, markets for Parisians. There is no public place like this in Paris”
to Redevelop a place that is as famous as the Eiffel tower is a major project. Have you been afraid of you engage in?
Not at all, because I do not change the Eiffel tower, I reinforce his environment. I make it more stable. The historical aspect remains, and the amenities of the bridge will be reversible. The largest part of the site is already a garden, so our work will be concentrated in the restoration. It will be to change the materials, better manage water and electricity, improve the accessibility of sustainable transport, to transport the Eiffel tower in the future. What we are changing more, this is the place du Trocadéro, to create a forecourt for public, just as the military School. Historically, a square in front of a building like a church is a gathering place. I want to create a large square in front of the military School, to organize events, markets for Parisians, with a fountain, fun facilities. There is no public place like this in Paris, in contrast to other large cities. Well there is the square of the Republic, but it is too political for me.
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The bridge of Jena will be piétonnisé and vegetated. A green bridge on the Seine, it is unique to Paris…
in Paris there are many bridges to be green, especially at the top of the device between the bois de Boulogne in the Sixteenth arrondissement. The revegetation of the bridge of Jena, it is a way to consider the entire site as a landscape. Thanks to this revegetation, the area that connects the Trocadéro at the military School will be able to form a single large garden, as it can exist in Berlin or London, for example. It is for this reason that we have called this project “OnE”.
The rond-point du Trocadéro will be removed and a plain green connected to the forecourt of the palais de Chaillot will replace it. Saty
Berlin, London and New York all have very large parks. Do you think that Paris has been designed as a city really, too mineral?
the cities of The south of Europe are historically more mineral than those of the north as Berlin, Amsterdam or London. But this is changing. Paris has grown a lot, it now has 13 million inhabitants (for the urban area, the urban unit has 10 million inhabitants and the commune of Paris a little more than 2 million, editor’s note) . We need green spaces. We work a lot on the concept of “healthy city,” a city that ensures the good health of its inhabitants. These parks are places to unwind, sports and walking his grand-mother. What does balance our lives. This movement is gaining a lot of cities in the world. We thus carry out the central park of Valencia, in Spain, a space that was previously occupied by railway tracks that it has moved underground. In Paris, the parc Martin-Luther-King in Batignolles district, has taken the place of rails. As soon as a field lends itself to it, nature can take its place.
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Kathryn Gustafson is a lover of Paris. Picasa
The bridge of Jena is very, very borrowed. What will be the impact of its piétonnisation on the traffic?
We have done many studies with experts of the traffic. If there will be an impact, it will be less important than what one thought at the start. Motorists who pass through the area are in their majority of people who seek to cross Paris, and non-residents. There is a need to rethink the use of cars, bicycles, shuttle buses, self-reliant. More public transport is comfortable, most Parisians use instead of the car. I used me as the car in Paris. Four years ago, I went to take the subway and I realized that it was easy. The new subways are comfortable, the tram tour Marshals is nice… It only need to be patient, because Paris is a big city and these infrastructures are expensive and long to implement, but I believe in this evolution. Paris should be proud of the improvement of its environmental impact.
How to integrate these modalities of transport to your project?
The transport will be racing on the same course as today and the emergency vehicles and security will be able to pass on the bridge. The bikes share bus lanes, and will have new bike lanes to two-way on the docks. A shuttle stand-alone connect the School militaire and the Trocadéro to solve accessibility problems. Today, climbing the last flight of steps, before the palais de Chaillot is complicated for people with reduced mobility. Only private cars will have to remain on each side of the river Seine and pass under the seat piétonnisées through the tunnels.
The pont d’iéna will be grown to his majority, and two lanes will be reserved for transit and emergency vehicles, and security. MIR
The construction will he completed for the Olympic Games of 2024, as has been announced?
I think you may not realize that a part of the work. The Field-of-March will be completely occupied by the olympic Games therefore it is better to wait for them to end. Same thing for a part of the gardens of the Trocadero. We will, however, before the start of the Games, the parties the more crucial for the movement and reception of visitors of the Trocadero to the Eiffel tower. A quarter of the way should also be renovated in 2024. But it does not touch the bridge as the Olympic Games the use.
Y a-t-he other areas of Paris that any musicians you’d love to change on this model? I think for example to the place de la Concorde, also very mineral and very crowded…
The Concorde is my favorite place in Paris. When it rains at night and the street lamps were reflected on the pavement, I imagine myself in the middle of the stars. I actually have the impression that there is more mineral surface for what the cars need. But it is a node important, it should not necessarily change. On the other hand, one could imagine the transfer of public events which are held usually on the Champ-de-Mars, a green space that is not designed for that.