Green Belt Dilatation

Paris (FR) – Runner-up


Team Representative: Anne-Lise Bideaud (FR) – architect urban planner; Associate: Matthieu Wotling (FR) – architect

MWAB Architectes Urbanistes, 115 rue Manin, 75019 Paris – France
+33 6 61 92 40 81 – –

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M. Wotling and A.-L. Bideaud



1. How did you form the team for the competition?

We founded the MWAB studio in 2008 to develop urban and architectural projects. Participating in the Europan competitions as well as in urban seminars or intervening in schools of architecture are specific times to innovate and exchange about projects and this is a spirit we want to keep central in our practice.


2. How do you define the main issue of your project, insisting on how you answered on this session main topic: adaptability and urban rhythms?

Through a park and a dense cluster, the "Green Belt Dilatation" project considers the place of nature in the city in a context of strong mutation. The reactivation of the Green Belt and the “petite ceinture” is the foundation for a green network across the Grand Paris and between the nerve centralities of the North Station and the future Pleyel station. The "fertile cluster" answers to new challenges about density and durability and proposes a new typology combining compactness, abundant nature and verticality. A layer of interconnected yards opens up views on Parisian rooftops while emergences rise to the height of the surrounding towers. Independently of its programmatic mix, this typology adapted to a context of high mutability could be extended to the green belt to reinforce the founding principle – 50% green, 50% dense. The project acts on three layers to benefit from the fruitful instability of the project territory:

  • The adaptability of the infrastructure to answer plural uses over time – the “petite ceinture” repositioned at the heart of public space combines walk paths and public transport;
  • Reversibility of sites defined by a permanent public space frame – the mesh of the district allows to consider alternative scenarios between densification through the extension of the principle of fertile cluster and urban breathing through a metropolitan park;
  • The diversification of uses from the heart of the built heritage to innovate while remaining in the history of the place – the iconic architecture of Championnet fabric welcomes new crafts and offices to diversify the program and opens the existing building to the park.


3. How did this issue and the questions raised by the site mutation meet?

We took the uncertainty due to the presence of large mutable allowances as an opportunity to bring the stakes to the Paris Nord-Est scope and propose an ambitious and coherent vision across the district.  The progressive improvements of fragmented areas will then take part in a common dynamic.


4. Have you already treated this issue previously and could you present some reference projects that inspired yours?

Regeneration of sites with a strong presence of heritage occupies a central place in our practice. Issues of density, heritage and place of nature –issues that seem to be conflicting at first glance– can be sources of permanent innovation. Convinced that these concepts can be developed together, we feed our project knowledge around references on these topics:

  • The High Line, Manhattan, NY (Diller Scofidio + Renfro architects with garden designer Piet Oudolf and landscaper James Corner) – the suspended urban park is built on an abandoned portion of an old aerial railways of the Lower West Side; this place –the "longest green rooftop of the world"– in addition to its recreational and heritage aspect allows retention of rainwater, a correction of the heat cluster effect and regenerates nature in the metropolis of New York
    > Interest for our project: Redevelopment of old railroad tracks for soft modes and green network at the territorial level
  • The 118 multi-family housing in Coslada (architects Amann - Canovas – MARURI) – located in the industrial suburb of Madrid, this project was born by reconciling different uses and heights: from underground parking, offices and commercial areas on the ground public floor to the public headroom on the platform of the 3rd floor and upper residential space level
    > Interest for our project: Imbrication between housing, community spaces and functional diversity in "3D";
  • Gurgaon 71 tower housing in India (architect Edouard François) – the tallest towers of this residential project are designed with "green clouds", which are a green extension of the apartment below and new higher territories allowing every inhabitant to enjoy the most beautiful view at the top of the building
    > Interest for our project: a bioclimatic tower conferring a new place for nature in the city and new way of living and sharing collective spaces in such place


5. Today –within the era of an economic crisis and sustainability– the urban-architectural project should reconsider its production method in time; how did you integrate this issue in your project?

We consider the urban project as the expression of a process with different levels of comprehension and involvement in the society.
Here, the release of a military site offers the opportunity to carry out an ambitious vision of an expanded territory. Between architecture, urbanism and landscape, the “fertile cluster”, both dense and mixed, will regenerate the urban environment by acting on both the image and the life of the neighbourhood. The extension of the urban network from the cluster, the complementarity of this new density with a park, and the redeployment of the principles of “fertile cluster” across the green belt should be considered in continuity with an opened process project in accordance to the Paris Nord-Est territorial project.


6. Is it the first time you have been awarded a prize at Europan? How could this help you in your professional career?

We previously won Europan 9 in Le Locle in Switzerland and Europan 10 in Saintes in France. These projects we keep on developing in pre-operational phases give us the opportunity to treat actual issues on exceptional sites. In Le Locle, the urban project of the city entrance contributed to the registration of the urban frame of the city to the UNESCO World Heritage. In Saintes, the project of an innovative district positioned on a promontory at the heart of the city was selected by the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy to test an eco-label area. The methods we have developed through these projects, with the support of Europan team in Switzerland and in France, provide us solid basis to develop different urban projects that we carry on in our studio.