One primary goal of our project is to establish an equilibrium among existing and proposed urban functions for the La Villette district, and in so doing, consider both the functional program as a factor of attraction at a local and a city scale and the cultural traditions of the city of paris as they relate to the scale of the urban structure and its architectuer. While accepting technological progress and the new possibilities of construction, we attempt not to impose formal systems that are foreign to the city, but rather to recapture the dialectical relationship between architecture and urban form, discovered through a structural interpretation of the city. Our approach to the problem avoids traditional planning concepts of this century, which treat buildings as objects placed on a neutral ground. Rather, our approach is "architectural," such that we begin to develop, by means of an architectural typology, a system of publicplaces, of streets, squares, parks and gates on the urban scale that operate throughout the built area of the sector and coordinate with the neighboring regions. In the course of this "traversee" transitions and articulations play primary roles, where the existing elements of the sector, such as the two canals and pavilions, are enhanced through transformation and integration within the Parti. We attempt to offer a multiplicity of situations and itineraries in order to incorporate the richness of variations and nuances that are the essence of the spatial and symbolic experience of the city.
In order to determine the allocation of the major elements of the program - the park and the built area - our parti takes as its point of departure the division of the sector established by the prolongation of the axis of th La Villette basin by the canal de l'Oureq. The park is located on the south side, between the avanue Jean Jaures and the southern bank of the canal; the built volume is located on the north side between the boulevard corentin Carious and the northern bank of the canal. By virtue of its location in relation to the Boulevard Peripherique, the avenue Jean Jaures and the Porte de Pantin - all of which play fundamental roles in the organization of the city.
At the scale of the sector, the location and the organization of the park gives prominence to the architectural quality of the grande halle of Baltard and of the two neoclassical pavilions that are incorporated into the park as transition elements between the urban and the natural. The great hall of Baltard plays a double role in the spatial organization of the parti. On the one hand, it is part of the longitudinal axis of the sector starting from the avenue Jean Jaures; and on the other hand, it is part of the transverse axis which from one end crosses the park, and from the other crosses the housing to terminate at the basin.
On the other side of the canal de l'Ourque we have created a dense urban tissue which expresses the intimate character of the "quartier" - as contrasted to the anomie of many housing projects - and which affords the vitality of a network of streets. In the same spirit, we have incorporated the "Grand Salle" into this tissue instead of treating it as an isolated monument.
The Grand Salle supports a variety of functions, including an entertainment center, a large exhibit space, a technical school and a secondary school, all of which are linked with the daily life of the quartier. The streets of the area circulate around and through the Grande Salle so that its central space becomes, in effect, a public place within the quartier on one scale and within the city on another.
The structure of the urban texture in this part of the sector reflects the axial composition established by the existing quartiers surrounding the La Villette district and the Corentin Carou entrance. These major axes are, in turn, modified by the axes of the existing buildings in the project area. We are thus able to create a situation or richness deriving from the dialectic between the old and the new. Accordingly, we have established zones of transition between the park and its context, so that the park's boundaries are not abrupt, but articulated with auxiliary open spaces that penetrate and organize the built volume.
We have placed a zone of housing and facilities in the southwest portion of the sector which affords a strong connection with its neighboring quartier. This zone differs from the one to the north by nature of its particular situation as a transitional phase between the park and the adjacent neighborhood and as a connecting axis between the northern and southern portions of the sector. It has developed as a fragment of urban tissue moulded by a sequence of open public spaces. On the eastern side of the sector there lies an industrial area which is linked to the existing industrial zone as well as to the main circulation routes. We have located an intermediate zone of offices between the industrial area and the park.
The canal de l'Ourque, located between the built volume to the north and the park to the south, becomes extremely important axis of activity because of the dimultaneous existence of a multiplicity of situations: on one side a more urban zone with multiple activities - residential, commercial, cultural and athletic; and, on the other side, recreational activities associated with the park.