Les Halles market was demolished in the 70’s. It was replaced by one of the first “grand projects”: Forum Les Halles: A huge buried mega-building that holds the most diverse programs in its 5 levels: Shopping mall, swimming pool, conservatory, cinemas, library, media tech, offices for public services, underground roads, and at the lower levels, the busiest train station in Europe with 100 million users per year. This station is the main entrance to Paris. 30 years later, the city of Paris selected four teams to carry out a renovation study for Les Halles. The site has no urban connection with the surroundings, the park is unsafe and does not fit into a major Parisian public space. The shopping mall is dark and confusing, while the station is chaotic and small.
Colliding with French tradition of “grand projects”, the project tries to tie together the requirements of the diversity of urban actors, each of them with its own ambition. How to aspire to something big with “smallness“? How to orchestrate these “small projects”? How to give them a direction?