ESSAY AFTER THE SAMARITAINE DECISION
How to Modernize Paris: With a Glass Giant or... by Selling the Soul of the City for the Triangle Tower !
The Samaritaine: A giant glass cube... to modernize Paris!
The Triangle Tower: A giant glass pyramid... to modernize Paris!
The Auteuil Greenhouses: A giant glass tennis court... to modernize the botanical gardens of Paris!
When you have no ideas, there's always the old cliché – and a giant one at that – of glass in a new package!...
The Conseil d'État has bowed to the irresistible cube of wavy glass and the insane wave of media coverage it has generated, despite previous decisions of administrative justice which came down in favor of the respect of the heritage of Paris and the city's rules of urbanization defined for all, even tthe most powerful. Thanks to this permissive ruling on the Samaritaine, the banalization of Paris, so dear to the heart of City Hall, can rush onwards, with much use of magic spells to turn concrete into greenery and green parks into concrete!
But they are forgetting that Paris and Parisians are ready to resist these wrongs, as they have always resisted in the past...
For, Yes, Parisians love their Paris, old as it is, and that feeling, far from labeling them outmoded, does them great honor.
And, No, they don't want their city defaced by banalized architecture or the office towers which uselessly clutter up the landscape and that City Hall wants to inflict upon them against their wishes!
And that is why, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Councillors of Paris, you must urgently listen to those you administer: respect the Parisians' ideas, be deaf to the sirens of glass and of concrete that sell offices by the mile, without the jobs to fill them!
You must no longer support those projects that are contrary to the general interest and against which it is so difficult for the civilian population to fight.
Do not sell the city's soul for the Triangle Tower...
No matter the supposed beauty of its glass image!
Christine Nedelec, ajunct secretary general of SOSParis (Trans. Elizabeth Dutertre)
Below text in French
Save Paris from the fear of not being fashionable!
It’s hard to believe this is happening in Paris, especially since the massing of the replacement is no different, in contrast to Washington,DC, where they always clamor for more height. It might be excusable if this were a landmark site like the Pompidou, but in the fabric of the rue de Rivoli, disharmony is much more apparent. This is the drip drip of a city’s character eroding, which might not seem to matter much here and there, until it reaches a tipping point when the soul of a place disappears, as has happened to so many American downtowns.
Considering its cool turn-of-the-century neighbor, it’s strange that a not strictly Haussmannian replacement was offered, but then again that is a product of our current architectural indoctrination which infects anyone with progressive pretensions, even if they themselves choose to live in a traditional home in a traditional city. Also, I'm not sure if the architects meant this, but the replacement looks like the ghost of a dead building.