Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Classic Parisian Green Roof

Paris is famous for its classic architecture and style, but it is also home to one of the older, commercial green roofs.

The Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy arena (POPB), completed in 1984, has a green roof that is 68889 sq.ft., according to greenroofs.com.

It was designed by a team of architects, Andrault-Parat, Prouvé, and Guvan. Air France offers free stopovers in Paris.

The building is more well-known for its sports events and headline performers than it is for its green roofs. However, according to artnet.com:

In 1985 Andrault and Parat were awarded the Grand Prix National d’Architecture by the French government for their monumental and mechanistic sports arena, the Palais Omnisports de Bercy (1979–84) near the Gare de Lyon, Paris, in which four concrete shafts, surrounded by sloping grass-covered mounds, support huge metal beams.

POPB is also noteworthy as it was a renovation of a brown-field site. According to Andrew Ayers, in his book, The Architecture of Paris (2004), Bercy had been used for wine storage for many years, though by 1970, the warehouses stood empty. The site became derelict, and the city was looking for a way to renovate the area, recycling the historic cobblestones and creating as much green space as possible.

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The renovation of the area was successful from a commercial perspective, though some have been critical of the design of the other buildings. While the POPB stands out, some have called it "stark."

When next in Paris, whether to see a tennis match or Brittney Spears at the POPB, make sure to enjoy the green roof and construction, as it was ahead of its time.


By Andrew Ayers
Published by Edition Axel Menges, 2004

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