International Town Planning Competition, 1st Prize

The Heart of a City - Melun Sénart

The area to be planned lies on the southern edge of Paris and is in danger of being overrun by urban sprawl from the seemingly aimless growth of the three surrounding small towns.
The task was to organize this growth so that from these three towns, a unique town with all the mandatory infrastructures can come into being.
We have designed a three-phase strategy, which essentially comprises six tactical parts.

A city is for us a city only then when it allows for a sense of diversity and discrepancy, high and low, density and emptiness, loud and quiet, heat and cold, tenderness and hardness, confusion and clarity, materialized in possible structures.

The combination of the initial drawing with the xeroxed model

The Development of the City - a three phase strategy

In the initial phase (1995), the generation of a strategy for urban development of Melun-Sénart demands a detailed preview of the historical development and growth of the rural area into a city core and the growth of the grounds. A frame for progress and change is established. Gradually contrasting infrastructures intensify the field of urban forces: density, complexity, height.

In the second phase (2003), the inner-city lofts are worked out as semi-finished, multi-storied apartment complexes creating the largest possible space with minimal means. The factory-like halls have a height of five meters, allowing each resident to complete their apartment or convert it into a two-storied living space in accordance with individual needs and resources. This forms “beams” of apartment units for twenty to forty residents. Each unit contains a construction elevator, which can lift a car to be parked on the parking deck found alongside every apartment. The parking deck can also be used as a garden.

A third planning phase completes the intensification of urban forces. Downtown and Interchange is covered over by a curved platform. The light and translucent skin of this platform, a flat building of 500 x 500 meters, stretches over the core of the city. Moving from the city platform, one can ramble through the inter-levels of the lofts and reach “Little New York” and the area behind it.

Basic Infrastructures / The Battle of Forces / Three-dimensional Zoning




COOP HIMMELB(L)AU Wolf D. Prix, Helmut Swiczinsky + Partner
Project Team: Mathis Barz, Burkhard Entrup, Manfred Hieber, Stefan Krüger, Susanne Rath, Franz Sam


Structural Engineering: DI Oskar Graf
Economy: Dr. Danilo Melmed

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