Classical by its shape, contemporary by its simplicity, our proposal for design competition in 2016 for the refurbishment of the Place de la Defense / Place of Defense / is a monumental lawn, a “Champ” placed in the historical axis of Paris, facing the Arch of la Defense. Conspicuous and minimalistic, the “Champ”, is coherent with its surrounding, fits within and gives order to the sequences of spaces on the elevated slab of la Defense.
It is a stitch and a connector, it federates the Parvis on one side and the Esplanade on the other, redefining the contours of the Place de la Defense. Our project redefines the space of the square, liberating the surface of the ground, and integrating elements of program and access in a general composition. The square’s spatial organization is simplified, clarified, liberated from obstacles, it gains in functionality and spatial quality. The pedestrian circulations are spread on two axis along each side of the central Champ, both of these, connected with vertical circulations, to the ground floor and underground. These two planted “avenues” run along the edges of the square, which are more intimate spaces, addressing the facades of the surrounding buildings. The central Champ, a unifying void, is a space of gathering and representation.
Our proposal is a re-interpretation of the space of the square and of its uses. Today, the square is a large empty space, mainly a transit space, the monumental scale of which is oppressing to its visitors. Our proposal aspires to “re-humanise” the square, make it a welcoming, functional, human-scale place.