Shigeru Ban's Parisian music island
Following on from Ando and Nouvel plans, will Ban's design for Ile Seguin in Paris finally break ground?
Some sites are hard to build on, though not because of any geographical problems, but rather thanks to bureaucratic anomalies. Take London's Battersea Power Station, which has had a myriad owners and accompanying architectural plans. Rafael Vinoly and Terry Farrell have both seen their schemes for the riverside plant scuppered. Earlier this year, however, its new Malaysian owners were promising 400 new homes, a shopping centre, hotels, offices and an arts space.
This to'ing and fro'ing must be giving Parisians a sense of déjà vu. Their city is home to a similar site - a former Renault factory. It too is on the waterfront; located on Ile Seguin on the Seine. Back in 2001 a Tadao Ando design was picked for the Pinault Foundation Contemporary Art Museum to be built here. It was never finished. Eight years after Ando's appointment, Jean Nouvel designed a masterplan for the island, which was also shelved and then ditched.
This was followed by a competition to design a centre for the production and performance of music, which has just been won by Shigeru Ban. He's come up with a ship-shaped scheme, mimicking the outline of the island. And in typical Ban style, there's a large spherical wooden structure, which acts as an auditorium. Called the Cité Musicale, it will also feature exhibition spaces, conference and business facilities, a playground, shops, restaurants, recording studios and open parkland. Its operators have committed themselves to a start date of March 2014 with its opening two years and one month later. Let's see if this lot can keep their promises.
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