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URL.LS.07

title: Baron Haussmann Master of Flexibility
author: Umberto Napolitano
Date: 11.2017

Haussmann, prefect for the department of the Seine from 1853 until 1870, extensively transformed Paris, above and below ground, from the city center to the outskirts. By extension, his name personifies a century of public works that still defines the urban organization of the city and the identity of the capital. But who would think of the Second Empire mapping as an exemplary network for mobility? Or the 19th century city block as an effective tool for a sustainable city? Or the Haussmann-style building as an archetype of exibility? The Paris Haussmann exhibition explores and analyzes the characteristics of this homogenous yet polymorphous cityscape, the result of a lengthy process of changes and evolutions, even in recent times. Research was conducted at all levels to classify and compare roadways, identify public spaces, and organize the blocks and buildings according to their current geometry. For the first time, the qualities of the Haussmann model have been set forth to show how they grapple with the challenges that contemporary cities face. Presented between January and June 2017 at the Pavillon de l’Arsenal, the exhibition is currently showcased at the Chicago Architecture Biennial 2017.
Curators: LAN+FBC

Production: Pavillon de l’Arsenal, Paris

LAN (Local Architecture Network) was created by Benoit Jallon and Umberto Napolitano in 2002, with the idea of exploring architecture as an area of activity at the intersection of several disciplines. This attitude has developed into a methodology enabling LAN to explore new territories and forge a vision encompassing social, urban, functional and formal questions. LAN’s projects seek to find elegant, contemporary answers to creative and pragmatic concerns. The firm’s projects give shape to this universe at different scales and through very diverse programs. LAN is in charge of the extension and renovation of the Grand Palais in Paris, the construction of the Maillon Theater in Strasbourg, and the development and coordination of new neighborhoods in Bordeaux and Nantes. With the belief that practice must be nurtured with research and theory, the firm is an active participant in contemporary debates around architecture, and regularly presents papers at conferences in Europe and the United States. Umberto Napolitano was admitted to the French Academy of Architecture in 2016, and he currently teaches at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation (GSAPP) in New York.