The Établissement Public du Palais de Justice de Paris is launching an international ideas competition for the master-planning of the new Paris Courthouse on the Tolbiac–Halle Freyssinet site in the Paris Rive Gauche ZAC (Mixed Development Zone) under the joint patronage of the Minister of Justice, Mr Pascal Clément, and the Minister of Culture,
Mr Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres. This competition is open to architects and town planners, and to architecture students.
Over the past several years, the new Paris Courthouse - a project seen as essential to the modernization of the justice system in the French capital and to improving this public service function for all Parisians - has been the subject of numerous studies by the authorities. Of exceptional scope and great complexity, this project presents such intricate issues in the Paris setting - where available real estate is so scarce - that the task involves creating not only a major public facility, but also an authentic contemporary monument which will be worthy of the capital and give fresh expression to the values of the justice system.
In 2004, in the overall framework of its responsibilities, the Etablissement Public du Palais de Justice de Paris (EPPJP) carried out site searches and several feasibility studies which, in early 2005, led the Government to nominate the site known as “Tolbiac”, in the heart of the Paris Rive Gauche ZAC (Mixed Development Zone) as its preferred location for the project. This redevelopment site, which lies close to the Seine and just across from the National Library of France, is imbued with a formidable array of challenges and possibilities.
Most of the site is occupied by a large industrial hall which, when built by the engineer Eugène Freyssinet early in the twentieth century, set a new benchmark in the development of concrete techniques. The reuse and showcasing of the hall is one of the key challenges of this project. The site is also located in an urban precinct which is undergoing rapid change, linking the “old” 13th District and the modern-day areas around the Library and the Seine. Keen to ensure that, to the extent possible, this State project proceeded in harmony with the urban development orientations that the Town Hall had at that time been drawing up, the EPPJP, in collaboration with the City of Paris, began a local consultation process in the summer of 2005. It carried out additional feasibility studies and further developed its site composition proposals as part of that consultation process.
The concerns and questions raised in the course of the consultation process, which seem to place increasing constraints on the project, today establish the need for a holistic approach to be adopted. With a view to determining the best possible means of settling the new Courthouse on the site - in other words, in order to further refine its brief prior to holding the architectural competition - the EPPJP wishes to invite submissions from a wide range of architecture and town planning professionals as well as architecture students, thus giving fresh impetus to the process of exploring ideas for the future of this urban precinct which has been selected as the site of an architectural and courthouse project of major proportions.
There are multiple issues at stake in this competition. Ways must be found not only to give this major court facility project - the court of the future - the best prospects of success, but also to create an ambitious architectural project which will enhance the standing of the capital while at the same time contributing a new element to a city precinct which is undergoing rapid change.
There is a specific need, so far as the Freyssinet Hall is concerned, relating to an issue of acute importance in the Paris setting, i.e. the reuse of a heritage asset. How can one develop projects which truly place the court in the city in such as way as to reflect the place of justice in society, projects which bring justice closer to the people it serves? How can one combine contemporary monumentality with high-quality urban development? How can one reconcile modernity and heritage?
These are among the key issues and objectives of this ideas competition. The results of this ideas competition will be given very wide exposure (exhibitions, publication etc). They will help to open up discussion and to achieve agreement on the most relevant architectural and urban development orientations for the project.
The ideas competition is open to architects and town planners, together with architecture students
Competition launch: 04 July 2006
Deadline for receipt of entries: Monday 16 October 2006
The competition brief and all related documents may be downloaded from site
The jury will grant monetary awards for each of the categories:
-Three monetary awards each worth 40,000 euros (excl. tax) per project for the "architecture and town planning professionals” category;
-Five monetary awards each worth 10,000 euros (excl. tax) for the “architecture students” category.
The jury may also award special commendations
Web Site: http://www.competitionparisjustice.com/