newsletter n°39

July 2020

Richez_Associés activity was obviously strongly impacted by the coronavirus this spring 2020... but thanks to our brilliant IT service, who was able to switch the entire practice to working from home in just one afternoon, and a collective collaborative team spirit sustained and managed by a weekly office newsletter and extensive exchanges in several digital formats, projects advanced in spite of the lockdown... and at the same time, the Richez_Associés architects, planners and landscape architects anticipated projects for the aftermath!

Lockdown and future of motorways...

Lockdown gave Greater Paris residents a new experience. During several weeks, our streets were deserted - empty and calm, pollution free, pedestrian-friendly... which residents appreciated. Most certainly on the political agenda will be the reconfiguration of the motorways within A86, our second ring road, including the ”Périphérique”, which we studied last year for the Metropolitan Forum. The Arsenal Pavilion exhibition clearly demonstrated that intense traffic on these roads emits a level of fine particles detrimental to the health of residents. Consequently, it is now urgent to reduce the number of vehicles using them by the collective transfer of passengers from their private cars to shuttle buses. The space thus freed can and should be used to provide the metropolis with environmental attributes : densely planted, these spaces will soak up rainwater, increase biodiversity and actively contribute to cooling in hot weather.
The coronavirus public health issues triggered a strong political reaction. Within days, a bold decision was taken to shut down the economy.
The revised traffic regulations on urban highways would also be an innovative measure, essential for the wellbeing of metropolitan residents. During post-lockdown, it might become an expectation of local residents and politically possible decision for local councillors… The recent municipal elections results head nationwide in this direction which will become one of the major challenges during the next municipal term of office!

Richez Associes - Lockdown and future of motorways...

Lockdown lifting and Grand Place

Lockdown lifting was itself an amazing experience. Very gradually, even reluctantly, within a few days there was a return to intense use of public space which put it to the test. We decided to observe this trend. On the Choisy-le-Roi parvis, an emblematic Richez_Associés intervention, our friend Nicolas Guilbert captured a few images of this very precise moment... You can judge for yourselves, an extraordinary atmosphere where spaces came alive, even lively. Instead of the N186 that dissected it, our competition entry installed in the Choisy centre, a Grand Place regimented with oaks - we are so proud that it happened!

Richez Associes - Lockdown lifting and Grand Place

Metro, offices, bicycles...

• At Richez_Associés this semester, intense activity on metro projects - our construction sites along the Grand Paris Express Line 15: the Champigny maintenance facility and marshalling yard, the Champigny-Centre and Bry-Villiers-Champigny stations advance as does the Line 11 extension (Mairie de Lilas to Rosny-Bois-Perrier) where we undertake 4 stations. The design of the Massy-Palaiseau station on Line 18 is nearly completed and in the pink city, our Toulouse-based team undertakes preliminary design on 4 of the stations of the third metro line

Richez Associes - Metro, offices, bicycles...

• More surprisingly during this period, office projects came alive: a 17,000m² newbuild timber project in Saint-Denis for Ideve, together with major refurbishments: two confidential projects in partnership - one with Gensler (San-Francisco), the other with Diller/Scofidio (New-York) and the rue Monceau Paris headquarters of the Avril group, in the Paris Golden Triangle district, with Legendre Développement and Unité. Declared winners of this consultation, we are actively preparing the planning application for submission.

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• Delivery of a very topical project - the bicycle. In the wake of the Place de la Bastille refurbishment, the City of Paris commissioned us to redesign the narrow rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine. The highlight of the new streetscape: a one-way bicycle path on a comfortable sidewalk, that gives bikes a lane separated from cars. Lauded on social networks as soon as it was in service, the bicycle lane has contributed to the spectacular rise in the extent of cycling within Paris, which appeared last September, increased in December due to transport strikes, and was recently further boosted during post-lockdown...
Today, Faubourg Saint Antoine is "the pleasure to enter Paris by bicycle via this revolutionary cycle path" Aurélien Bellanger said on radio France Culture, December 11, 2019.
An innovative design with, for the first time in France, the implementation of a legible and anti-fall boundary known as the "forgiving kerb" that cycling associations have called for in Paris over the years.

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Not to forget cars and trains,

Two buildings were delivered this semester:

• the second car park in the Cartoucherie eco-district, Toulouse: a design and build project undertaken with Bouygues-Bâtiment provides 550 car spaces. Its 7 levels of rectilinear, light-coloured concrete embrace a double metal helix Chambord-style ramp with a central void bathed in daylight. It is planted on the ground floor, of course – a satisfaction to the mind and a pleasure of the senses!

Richez Associes - Not to forget cars and trains,

• the conversion to a digital eco-station of the large Saint-Omer passenger train station. Designed in partnership with Nathalie TKint, a white glass and light-coloured timber blade penetrates the 1904 listed building which accommodates a fablab, coworking, day care, etc. and, rest assured, information and tickets for the trains and travellers who are still there! Public approval is assured.

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and vaporettos?

Vaporettos are also party to this Richez_Associés newsletter. This winter, they displayed throughout Venice the poster for the Architecture Biennale 2020 whereupon you will recognise, like everyone else... Thomas Richez!
Due to Covid-19, the Biennale was postponed until 2021. The poster has therefore been reissued and Thomas Richez is certainly the only architect on planet earth to have visited the Biennale - which did not happen...

Richez Associes - and vaporettos?

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