Métropolis Métabolisme

Romainville (FR) - Runner-up


Team Representative: Roméo Sanséau (FR) – architect; Associate: Clémence Estrada (FR) – architect
Contributor: Masami Lavault (FR) – agronomist

Agence formalocal
31 bis rue Fessart 75019 Paris (FR)
+33 9 53 51 51 72 - atelier@formalocal.com – formalocal.com

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R. Sanséau, C. Estrada & M. Lavault

VIDEO (by the team)


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

We have already teamed up in 2016 to enter Parisculteurs 1, an urban farming competition launched by the Paris City Council. Our entry, a 1200 sqm flower farm nestled at the foot of a water reservoir in the 20th district of the capital was successful, and has been brought to fruition by Masami. This year, we have reunited to deepen our reflection on the productive city, on a larger scale.

2. How do you define the main issue of your project, and how did you answer on this session main topic: the place of productive activities within the city?

We have questioned how a multiplicity of productive activities, on different scales and in different fields, can find a form of synergy, using micro-initiative as a starting point.
Our project builds on the existing productive initiatives on the territory of Est Ensemble (the federation of municipalities East of Paris). We propose to identify them, analyze the way they function and design a shared space to address the common issues and challenges that the ‘producers’ encounter whilst developing their activities in urban areas: logistics, delivery and storage of materials and finished products, distribution, marketing, etc.


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

The urban changes that are underway or that will arise in a more distant future on this site are an opportunity to create a strategic landmark in the heart of the Est Ensemble territory and at the gates of Paris. We want to accompany these transformations with an innovative approach: encourage the re-use of waste from the removal of the A186 highway; experiment with different soil remediation techniques before leveling the ground; take advantage of the construction of the tram to imagine a system of shared mobility between public transportation and last-mile freight logistics; create a large public park on this urban fringe; and initiate a consultation process involving both residents and actors linked to productive activities.


4. Have you treated this issue previously? What were the reference projects that inspired yours?

The daily activity of Masami on the flower farm gives us a tangible approach to the issues that arise with urban productive activities and soil pollution / remediation. As architects and urban planners, Roméo and Clémence work and experiment with the idea of a public workshop in various situations: Roméo in the design activity and event program of the formalocal architecture agency that he co-leads, and Clémence in the context of a residency at Ateliers Médicis in Clichy-Montfermeil.


5. Urban-architectural projects like the ones in Europan can only be implemented together with the actors through a negotiated process and in time. How did you consider this issue in your project?

Our project is defined by the implementation of a design process where the involvement of the different actors is aligned with the electoral calendar, with the timeline of the removal of the A186 highway and, lastly, of the commissioning of the T1 tram. This 3-stage evolution of the project makes it possible to apprehend the mutations of the site over time and to design a project negotiated between the inhabitants and users of the territory, the City of Romainville, the municipal federation Est Ensemble, the ‘producers’ (actors of productive activities), land owners, EPFIF, Île-de-France Mobilités (regional transportation office), etc.

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

This is the first time that we have won a Europan award, and as young architects, urban planners, and urban farmer, we value this competition as a great opportunity to access public procurement on an urban scale.



Office: /
Functions: architect, urban planner, flower farmer
Average age of the associates: 30 years old

Has your team, together or separately, already conceived or implemented some projects and/or won any competition? If yes, which ones?

The same team was the winner of the Parisculteurs 1 competition, launched by the ParisCity Council in 2016. The agency formalocal, created in 2016, has won various competitions including:

  • Localized housing, The housing in question - competition launched by the Syndicat de l'Architecture, in 2018;
  • La Cartoucherie, Winner of a competition for the construction of a hotel in Toulouse (FR), in 2019;
  • “Breathe Normally, Ma cantine en ville“, finalist project - competition launched by the Cité de l'architecture (FR), in 2014;
  • “Rivière“, Winner of a competition for the rehabilitation and extension of a building classified as a historic monument, in 2018.

The agency has also carried out numerous architectural projects for workplaces, collective and individual housing, equipment, set designs and installations.