In northeast Paris, between the capital’s 18th and 19th arrondissements and the nearby town of Aubervilliers, the urban entity is dissected by the inner & outer ring roads of the Boulevard Périphérique and the Boulevard des Maréchaux, and fragmented by industrial installations and railroads. Agence Ter focused their attention on the central large-scale infrastructures, acknowledging them as spatial structuring fixtures, and investigated their potential for adaptation to everyday residential life. How to reconcile, within such a maze of formidable structures, the areas designated for residential use with areas designated for major transit?

To help the ring road to co-exist with the nearby residential areas (and vice versa), a band of woodland is installed along its length. This barrier of green obscures the infrastructure and offers local residents an accessible, living swathe of forest, which is able to absorb the rain runoff from the built-up neighbourhoods. The Boulevard des Maréchaux is conceived as an asymmetrical space with a wide sidewalk along its north side and a vast, linear gallery on the south side. A long promenade running the length of the train tracks and freight yards will connect the Porte de la Chapelle with the Parc de la Villette. And lastly, a canal-park following the Canal Saint-Denis runs perpendicular to the other elements, linking Paris with its suburbs (Saint-Denis), Parc de la Villette, the band of woodlands, etc. All in all, this project is designed to create a calm, relaxed space where time is measured by the slow advance of the barges, in contrast to the furious motion of the Périphérique.

  • Program / Project: PARIS NORD-EAST / The linear forest
  • Client: City of Paris
  • Project management: Agence Ter + Dusapin-Leclercq Architectes-Urbanistes (lead consultant)
  • Area: 200 ha
  • Date: 2003-2011
  • Location: Paris, France

PARIS NORD-EAST / The linear forest