A grand design for Paris - with space to breathe

Snøhetta is the lead architect and landscape architect firm behind a new Parisian urban development project designed to re-energise the Pleyel district of Saint Denis.

Work began in 2017 on Les Lumières Pleyel which is part of the Grand Paris development project. When completed between 2023 and 2028, it will be 176,000m2 of mixed-use space located next to the largest station of the Grand Paris Express Metro, Saint-Denis Pleyel.

 The render of the finished project is courtesy of  snøhetta.com

The render of the finished project is courtesy of snøhetta.com

Two high-rises will incorporate accommodation, hotels, student residences, and offices, as well as shops, and sport and cultural facilities. Green rooftops will provide stunning views of the site, and vegetation in suspended gardens is designed to form a “green wave” on the skyline.

The 14,000m2 park area located at the heart of the development is divided into different planting zones depending on the amount of light and shade each area receives. Woodland vegetation will be planted in shaded areas protected from the wind, while prairie vegetation is to be included in the more sun-drenched spaces. Fruit trees and vegetable farms will also be planted to add to the sustainability of the project. Engineering firm Atelia has created urban farming programmes that Snøhetta says “accommodate for a modern and innovative post-carbon way of life.”

 Suspended gardens will form a green wave on the Paris skyline.

Suspended gardens will form a green wave on the Paris skyline.

Slopes will be created in the park by lifting the ground, capping the polluted soil and adding fresh soil to the area. There will also be plenty of pedestrian paths made from concrete paving tiles and gravel, providing residents and visitors with easy access to the site.

 Les Lumières Pleyel is due for completion between 2023 and 2028.

Les Lumières Pleyel is due for completion between 2023 and 2028.

Les Lumières Pleyel is committed to sustainability and carbon-neutrality. Engie have developed a multi-energy smart grid which will be included in the project, and inhabitants will be able to both monitor their energy consumption and manage their waste. The inclusion of green spaces and plants will prevent the “heat island” effect which often occurs in urban areas, and allow for the monitoring of storm water runoff.

Snøhetta states that, “a variety of green spaces, suspended gardens and a large park central to Les Lumières Pleyel provide the area with spaces to breathe and recreate.” The project hopes to truly transform the currently highly industrial suburb of Saint Denis.

 The greenery is designed to avoid the 'heat island' effect which often occurs in high density urban areas.

The greenery is designed to avoid the 'heat island' effect which often occurs in high density urban areas.