MVRDV - Grand Paris exhibited for a new audience at Beijing Biennial

Grand Paris exhibited for a new audience at Beijing Biennial


Blueprint Beijing, the architecture exhibition presented as part of the Beijing Biennial for art, is now open at the M Woods Hutong museum. In the exhibition, MVRDV presents its 2008 project Grand Paris through video animations, a new explanatory book, and the 2009 documentary Grand Paris: The Architect and the President. All materials are presented in a bilingual format, translated – some for the first time – into both Chinese and English.

Created in response to President Sarkozy's urban planning consultation for the Greater Paris area, MVRDV’s proposal for Grand Paris sought to mitigate future sprawl and radically transform Grand Paris into one of the densest, most compact, and thus most sustainable high-quality cities in the world: "Paris plus petit". The proposal, documented at Blueprint Beijing in the form of video animations and a book, starts by calculating the required additional programme as a single volume to visualise the scale of the challenge. This volume is then broken up and spread across Paris through 17 large-scale interventions informed by an analysis of the city's urban fabric, its future programmatic needs, and its spatial possibilities.

Supplementing the presentation of the proposal is the documentary, filmed by Dutch broadcaster VPRO. It follows MVRDV founding partner Winy Maas during the Grand Paris consultation process, describing the high-stakes experience as “an introduction to the new French politics” for Maas as he attempts to negotiate a “maelstrom of power, media and architecture”.

Presented in this new context, the Grand Paris project can operate as a provocation for the people of Beijing. As the accompanying exhibition statement explains, “the project provides an interesting juxtaposition to the growth of Beijing. The two metropolises are hardly comparable, because Paris has a less radical population growth, so it is to be expected that Beijing will grow in the future. Yet the intensification and densification strategies shown here are relevant to Beijing’s development.”

Blueprint Beijing will be on show until March 12th at M Woods Hutong (Qianliang Hutong 38, Building 3, Longfusi St 95, Dongcheng, Beijing).