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Renovation controversy of the station from the North : the response of the architect in charge of the work

The railway station of discord. The project of renovation of the Gare du Nord in Paris for the Olympic Games 2024 does not please the pundits of the urban inhabitant. September 3, they were 19 to sign a tribune in the columns of the World . “This project is unacceptable, and we ask that it be rethought from the bottom up”, declared Jean Nouvel, Roland Castro or Dominique Perrault. A week later, it is the turn of Denis Valode, co-founder of the firm of architects Valode&Pistre (chosen by the group Immochan winner of the tender launched by SNCF gares & connexions) to respond to the controversy in The Point .

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“This is a project that aspires to transform a place experienced in a place that will be fun to attend”

Denis Valode

The signatories accuse mainly the project of wanting to transform the first station of Europe in a gigantic commercial space. “It is necessary to first put things in their right dimension. The surface proposed trade to the gare du Nord reported the number of travellers is significantly the lowest among the railway stations, transformed, Austerlitz, Saint Lazare and Montparnasse”, stresses Denis Valode, who recalls that no forum has been made for these other stations.

“we need to put an end to a fiction which would be that the commercial operator has sought to complicate and lengthen the course of the travelers to develop the commercial offer. Never, of course, we did we’d be rendered accomplices of such a diversion”, he says. For him, this project “seeks to solve a deadlock in which is engaged the gare du Nord with the considerable increase in the traffic of 900,000 passengers per day by 2030, compared to 500,000 who attended in 2001 at the time of the last accommodation.” The goal: to transform “a place experienced as a pleasant place to hang out”.

Another point of disagreement, the modernization of this historic place of the capital. Denis Valode would like to reassure everyone. “The Northern railway station, designed by Jacques Ignace Hittorff is a masterpiece of architecture of the Nineteenth century (…) It is this exceptional heritage that our project aims to restore and enhance”, he says.

the Last concern expressed by the architects, that the work, jeopardize the flow of visitors during the olympic Games 2024. “The North station is the transportation hub for access to major sites in the north of Paris and at the olympic village (…) If this project was not halted, the France might find themselves deprived of an essential instrument of service to the sites,” worried the group of architects. A reservation to which Denis Valode, has decided to respond aggressively. “All these works are programmed to be completed in 2024 for the olympic Games. Let me add that I would like to keep carefully the forum of the World and that one displays in 2024 in the station transformed”.

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