Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris, has designated lot M5A2 in the ZAC Masséna (a concentrated development zone) a part of the project “Reinventing Paris.” The lot is a bare swath of terrain stuck just inside Paris’ periphery, only a few minutes’ walk from the National Library and the 1,000 startups that will, in the future, be set up in the Halle Freyssinet. On this bare lot, it will be possible to construct between 8,000 and 11,000 square meters of mixed-use space, depending on what options are ultimately chosen for construction. It cannot be denied that the location is rather improbable, being on the very furthermost outskirts of Paris. However, this could very well be the location of the first “Wikibuilding.”
This Wikibuilding is meant to be a mix of architecture and open-source media, offering work opportunities in a digital economy. Architect and urban designer Alain Renk and developer Paul Jarquin propose a building that functions like open-source software. An open architectural plan would allow future occupants, subsiders, architects, and startups to come in and adapt the building to different uses depending on their needs and desires.
This innovative project is made possible thanks to the material used for its construction: wood. The Rei France Society specializes in wooden construction in Paris. The material has a considerable ecological advantage, and is, above all, an extremely adaptable and transformable material. Building with wood is a quick process. Thus, the building’s inhabitants will be able to follow the construction of the building’s parts in the factory (located in the East of France) and modify the order in order to meet their wishes.
Everything is Modular and Upgradeable
The building will be constructed like a wiki. Because all of the plans are “open source," everyone can use the building, improve upon it, or experiment within it. For example, backers or insurers can work with the building’s inhabitants and businesses to test online health services. Additionally, 5% of the total area will be reserved for a living lab. As soon as construction begins on the Wikibuilding, it will become a space of experimentation, open to the neighboring Paris Val de Seine Architecture School. Later, its open design will allow for upgrades when needed or desired.
No one knows for sure how any building’s purpose will evolve. Therefore, the Wikibuilding must be adjustable so that it can become, as needed, a hotel, offices, apartments, a shared workspace, studios, fashion design space, a place for experimentation, stores, banquet rooms, temporary showroom, a nightclub, a restaurant, a bookstore, or even a concierge. For Paul Jarquin, the Wikibuilding is “the symbiosis between architecture and the collaborative power of the digital economy.” But much of the building’s future will depend on the exchanges and experiences that take place between shareholders and inhabitants.
What do you think of the idea of a building as its own “open-source network?” Is such flexibility conducive to real life, or is it the concept too idealistic? Share your stories and thoughts in the comments area below.
Original article, originally published in French, here.
Credits: Images and data linked to sources.