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Fashion and Design Rejuvenate Historic Paris Dock Structure

Paris-based architects Jakob + MacFarlane are uniting fashion and design along the Seine's Left Bank by enveloping an existing 1907 concrete dockside warehouse in new construction. The 129,000-square-foot structure will be filled by the City of Fashion and Design (Cité de la Mode et du Design) and will house the Institute Français de la Mode (a fashion school). Exhibition space will fill a third of the building, which will also include music production studios, cafés, restaurants, and a bookstore when it opens in 2008.

"Using the existing concrete structure and its order, we generated the constructive logic for the new structure," said Brendan MacFarlane, one of the principal architects. The new construction of steel, glass, and landscape material, called a "plug-over" by the architects, will protect the original concrete, add another floor, and jut out over the river. It will provide circulation to various destinations within the building.

The concrete skeleton provides structural support and a physical connection to the site's industrial history as the architectural fluidity of the ramps reflects the flux of river traffic and of people moving through the space and exchanging ideas. Adjoining the network of promenades along the Seine, ramps from the ground level will carry visitors through the four-story building to the rooftop park above the riverbank. At night, special lighting will animate activity in and around the building and complement the Paris skyline.

Larissa Babij

 

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