For the Journées du Patrimoine in September, I was invited to a tour of the Carreau du Temple in the north Marais. The site is still under construction. The works have been delayed because of a certain « find » they made when excavating : 1000 human skeletal remains whose origins are unknown. In spite of these haunting discoveries, the venue will hopefully be finished by April 2014 and is already scheduling events.
The structure is huge, and only represents a third of its original size. Built in the 19th century it was a site dedicated to clothing markets for most of it’s previous existence. Since 2007 the renovation project has been under way and includes 10000 square meters of surface to be worked on of which 3940 square meters of ground surface area. This is no small project!
In addition to the large open space, there is a theater that can seat 250 people, a bar, and under ground rooms to be used for dance, sports, recording and many other activities for Parisians to enjoy. The structure is mostly new, being created in the exact style of the old building. They did however keep the boutique divider beams and number signs, repainted and refurbished them so that there would remain some of the historical monument.
The new building also boasts ecological design; with glass ceilings integrating solar power plates that will assume 22² of the buildings needs in heated water; light sensitive glass on these same ceilings that will take care of 15% of the buildings electricity needs; floors that will be heated in the cold weather or cooling in the heat, to just name a few of the ecological elements.
Sylvie Martin-Lahmani (the project’s cultural and territorial action director) led us through the work site, explaining in eloquent yet understandable terms the layout, the history, the structure and the projects that this venue hopes to host. We were with a group of people who either live or have lied in the neighborhood, or who are enthusiastic about Paris and/or 19th century architecture.
The venue hopes to hold events like skateboarding competitions or circus performances, as well as group classes for tai chi, tango and more. The project also hopes to host fashion and couture shows, to rekindle its historical past as a place of sale for clothing.
I am greatly looking forward to seeing this place finished, and to attending many events there in the future. It’s a fantastic project, and gives the North Marais even more value than before.
What : Le Carreau du Temple
Where : 2 rue Eugène Spuller 75003 Paris
What to Watch for : Fashion week shows and Le corps sous toutes ses coutures / 25-27 avril 2014 (their inaugurating event.
What I like best so far : the structures incredible photogenic nature. (I couldn’t stop snapping pictures!). See more here.