Together with Baumschlager Eberle Architekten, Chaix & Morel et Associés, Ateliers 2/3/4/, Mars Architectes, Maud Caubet Architectes and Moreau Kusunoki, Snøhetta has been part of the team behind Les Lumières Pleyel, a large-scale and mixed-use development project situated in the Pleyel district of St. Denis, France. The architectural team is represented by Sogelym Dixence and the project is a part of the extensive Grand Paris development project which comprises a total of 51 different projects that will transform the Parisian region in the years to come.
Les Lumières Pleyel is one of the largest projects of the Grand Paris initiative and the project is expected to be completed between 2023 and 2028. Snøhetta has been lead architect and landscape architect on the project and has designed a 14,000m2 park area located at the heart of Les Lumières Pleyel. Snøhetta has also designed two high-rises, the L8 and R3 buildings, and has developed a visual identity for Les Lumières Pleyel.
Les Lumières Pleyel is situated between the Stade de France and the docks of Saint-Ouen in the Parisian suburbs. The area runs along the existing railroad and will be strategically placed next to the largest station of the Grand Paris Express metro, Saint-Denis Pleyel. Hence, Les Lumières Pleyel will become an essential crossroad for commuters and residents, transforming the current industrial area and increasing the future attractiveness of St. Denis.
The L18 building houses la Maison du Parc and serves as an entry point to Les Lumières Pleyel. It is an information hub and a ticket sales spot for the cultural and sporting activities offered on the site. On ground level, la Maison du Parc has a transparent façade which is open to the public. On the upper levels, the façade is clad with wood, perforated and interrupted by terraces and whitened concrete blocks supporting the vegetation from the suspended gardens.
The R3 is the tallest high-rise at Les Lumières Pleyel and it is one of the prominent features of the site. Its suspended gardens are scattered around the different levels of the building and offer a continuity of the recreational areas which surround the building. The building is composed of two large vertical volumes. On the northern side, an assembly of shapes reflecting light makes up the first volume. On the southern side, the second volume is characterized by its translucid and transparent patterns. The green rooftops of the building offer a spectacular view of the site.
The variations in the landscape of the Central Park area help vary the spaces from intimate rooms to open spaces for gathering. Lifting the ground to create slopes and bumps is also a strategy to deal with the site's pollution – to cap the polluted soil below and add new soil to the park.
Planting zones of different plant species with unique characteristics that react differently to light conditions during the day are planted depending on the amount of light and shade an area receives. Woodland vegetation is selected for areas with more shade and protection from the wind. Prairie vegetation is used for areas with more sunlight and exposure to wind. Fruit trees and vegetable farms are planted in the park according to their access to sunlight. Other trees in the park include maple, platan, and beech trees. The main pedestrian paths are clad with light concrete paving tiles. The secondary paths will be softer and covered with gravel.
Culture and green innovation
The architecture follows an overarching strategy of cultural exchange and green development, orchestrated by players such as Manifesto and Artelia. Cultural engineer Manifesto has accommodated many cultural activities within Les Lumières Pleyel, such as cinemas, concerts, and cultural scenes. Artelia has introduced urban farming programs that accommodate a modern and innovative post-carbon way of life. Hence, various green spaces, suspended gardens and a large park central to Les Lumières Pleyel provide the area with spaces to breathe and recreate.
Waves and light
From the skyline of the high rises, which vary in height between 18 and 120 meters, to the dents and slopes of the central park, Les Lumières Pleyel is designed to imitate wave-like formations. The wave-like motions stretch from The Tour Pleyel in the North, over the railroad, and end up as landscape waves creating quiet pockets for occupation while directing and controlling the flow of people around them.
The waves of Les Lumières Pleyel are transversally interrupted in several sequences, offering neighboring inhabitants easy access to the central park while also letting in light to the area.