Cities of the future: “In 2050, Paris will remain the most beautiful city in the world,” says the swiss architect Patrick Herzog

The swiss architect Jacques Herzog at the side of the model of the future tour Triangle in Paris (15th), that he created with his partner, Pierre de Meuron. (Archives) — Mr. ASTAR/SIPA

  • In the company of Pierre de Meuron, Jacques Herzog has created the architecture agency Herzog & de Meuron, who must, in particular, the Elbe Philharmonic hall in Hamburg, the Allianz Arena in Munich or the stadium Matmut Atlantic at Bordeaux.
  • The swiss agency has received the Pritzker prize in 2001.
  • For 20 Minutes, Jacques Herzog has agreed to give his vision of Paris in 2050.

Bird’s nest in Beijing, the Tate Modern in London, the tour Triangle in Paris (15th)… The duo switzerland
Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron is at the origin of these architectural works that does not leave indifferent to their contemporaries (and also will be the future generations). The idea of projecting oneself in Paris in 2050 as 20 Minutes imagined seduced Jacques Herzog.

The architect of the basel took the time by phone to imagine the future of the capital. A future that he hopes to see : “2050, it is very close, I will only have 100 years ! (laugh) “

Jacques Herzog, today many projects of large towers should be carried to Paris by the early 2020s. Do you think that in 2050, Paris will be a city full of verticality ?

Already, Paris will remain the most beautiful city in the world (smile). Because it is the most accurate, the most homogeneous. It is well thought out from the beginning. She has always been able to maintain a number of clear rules. What makes it beautiful. And it’s going to stay.

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Also read: the construction of The tour Triangle, validated after a rebound court and a copy to review

The verticality can be introduced to Paris, but she will have to follow these rules. Today, it is focused outside the centre of Paris, around the boulevard périphérique. This is also the case of the Triangle tower. The towers will define even better the shape of Paris surrounded by its boulevard périphérique. Yes, there will be more verticality to Paris but by following a clear line.

>> Lecture by Jacques Herzog at the Pavilion of the Arsenal in October 2014 on the tour Triangle

The height is not that high, it is also the sub-floor. The city of Paris could be interested in the underground spaces ?

You think of Montreal, non ? I do not exclude this possibility. It depends on many factors. But I do not believe that human beings find pleasure in the artificial areas, underground. It is interesting in a science-fiction movie but not in reality. Humans enjoy the physical pleasure of the air, the water, parks. In Basel, the city changes when you start to be able to swim in the Rhine. It is of an incredible beauty. Paris has the Seine, a natural element, for which the city will make all efforts to keep it.

How do you see the transport in Paris ? A hot topic since this morning, it was learned that the capital wants to be “the end of diesel in Paris in 2024 and gasoline in 2030,” according to the mayor, Anne Hidalgo.

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We cannot define for all cities. The space used for today’s vehicles, we will still need this volume for transport. The streets will not be replanted with trees. We are not going to revolutionize the city. But, it is sure that the private transport with a car in front of his garage is going to decrease more and more. It is necessary to see how the private transport will maintain in the city center.

Also read: After diesel, the mayor of Paris wants to tender towards the end of gasoline cars by 2030

If the streets are not being replaced by avenues of trees, the nature will invest it Paris in 2050 ?

There will be more nature. I am sure that there will be more roofs with green spaces. On the roofs, the terraces, you will combine the beauty of nature with the useful for the production of food, to have fresh air. There will be an improvement of the networks of parks and walkways. Today, these are static elements, they will become more dynamic.

Also read: hanging Gardens, bridges in all directions… Is this the future of Paris?

And how do you see the profession of architect in 2050 ?

The job of the architect is based on a paradox : the architecture offers people a place to relax, quiet, private, protected, but also the dynamism of the life today. This static element and sensual, almost archaic architecture will be energized by the digitalization. Paris has monuments that define a particular place – for example the cathedral of Notre-Dame, the Eiffel tower, the centre Pompidou… – physical objects that are anchored in their territory. They will stay there. The future, the modern will be defined in a relationship where there will be this paradox and this parallélité between this physical world and a digital world.