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RSHP wins Montparnasse masterplan contest

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Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) has won an international competition to re-masterplan the area surrounding Paris’s 1970s Montparnasse Tower

The London studio – working with local practice Lina Ghotmeh Architecture and landscape architect Michel Desvigne – defeated an undisclosed shortlist of rival teams to win the contest held by the Ville de Paris.

RSHP’s winning scheme aims to boost ‘dynamism and diversity’ in the 9ha district on the left bank of the River Seine by increasing permeability and creating new pedestrian and cycle routes.

About 4,000 new trees and 10,000m² of green space will also be delivered, along with new residential and commercial spaces and a new low carbon strategy for the entire zone.

Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris, said: ‘The challenge is to transform this modern urbanism from the 1950s and 1970s to recompose and reshape an urban landscape consistent with the Parisian fabric and adapted to contemporary climate commitments.’

RSHP partner Stephen Barrett said: ‘Starting with the desire lines that traverse the site, we propose a dynamic plan, a contemporary form of Haussmann’s urban design that is generated by the movements of people.’

The appointment comes two years after a consortium of French outfits Chartier Dalix, Franklin Azzi Architecture and Hardel-Lebihan Architectes won a contest for a £250 million overhaul of the Montparnasse Tower itself.

Backed by building-owner Ensemble Immobilier Tour Maine-Montparnasse, the contest sought proposals to return the 210m-tall landmark to its ‘former glory’.

Designed by Eugène Beaudouin, Urbain Cassan and Louis Hoym de Marien, the controversial 59-storey building triggered a 40-year ban on towers in the French capital shortly after its completion in 1973.

Located in the Montparnasse district – the epicentre of the artistic world in the 1920s – the skyscraper was the tallest in France until 2011.

Today the structure in Paris’s low-rise 15th arrondissement – which features offices, a restaurant and a viewing terrace – is the 17th tallest building in the European Union.

The Montparnasse Tower redevelopment is expected to complete by 2023, one year before the city hosts the Olympic Games.

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