Réinventer la Seine
Place Mazas Theatre
The Place Mazas -150 metres of river frontage in central Paris adjacent to the Bassin de l’Arsenal- was one of the most prestigious sites made available by the City of Paris in the Réinventer la Seine consultation launched in 2017. We were classed second in the final round of the invited competition, with a highly commended project for social and market housing, civic space, a homeless support centre, shops and a self-financing theatre for emerging companies. The latter was identified as being of critical importance for the arts in Paris, and was proposed and developed by our team member Augustin Billetdoux.
The theatre’s construction would be subsidised by sales of housing; it would then be run by a management group comprised of Le Grand Reservoir, Augustin Billetdoux and ourselves, its running and production costs offset by restaurant and occasional rental revenues from a vast roof deck overlooking the river Seine.
The entire building is proposed to be made with a wooden structure and envelope, prefabricated components delivered by river and hoisted on-site from the Arsenal lock outside of working hours. Aside from wood’s inherent sustainability benefits, this would also allow for a much lighter building on a site sitting on massive civic infrastructure (essentially the entire eastern city sewer, also an adjacent metro line).
Led by developers Capelli, our team proposed this original business model and unusually generous programme with complete financial certainty. We hope to redeploy the knowledge and team structure on other similar projects.
The theatre has 150 seats on a retractable bleacher and balconies. It is designed to be easily transformed between an early evening theatre show and a later concert or DJ set, attracting a mixed-age audience to an art form which struggles (in Paris) to reach a younger demographic. The foyer -with double-height doors to the theatre- is designed as an all-day space attracting locals and promeneurs from the Parc des Rives de Seine; it is also potentially an extensions of the theatre, used for concerts, debates and performances. It has its own café-bar linked to a more prestigious establishment on the roof terrace.
Client: Capelli / Ville de Paris
Project area: 8,824 m2
Budget: 20 million euros
Studio Andrew Todd, architects
L+A Landscape Architects
Terrell, Structural Engineering
INEX, HVAC Engineering
BMF, Cost Consultant
Agence Franck Boutté, Sustainability Consultant
Augustin Billetdoux / Le Grand Reservoir, Project Management
Advisers: Pierre-Yves Lenoir / Thomas Jolly / Karim Bel Kacem