Clichy-Batignolles, Paris, the plan

The City of Paris decided some time ago it could not meet its climate change objectives by staying with the Haussman plan for six storey buildings. More and more mid and high rise buildings are appearing in Paris, not just out in the suburbs, but well within the traditional old city limits roughly denoted by where the Peripherique (ring freeway) runs.

The former St Lazare railway yards at Porte Clichy is in the 17th arondisment, just west of Montmartre. It comprises 3400 housing units on 54 hectares, including the 10 hectare Martin Luther King park.

The Illumination project in Ottawa proposes 4400 housing units on 21.6 hectares, with considerable parkland adjacent and not included in that 21.6hectares. Add in Claridge’s East Flats (1600 units proposed, plus 450 already built) and the adjacent Zibi project ( housing units?) and the 600 units built in the 80’s south of Albert … Ottawa’s project is at least twice the size of Clichy-Batignolles.

The Paris project has been under way for about 20 years, with completion estimated for 2020.

Here is an illustration of the whole project:

Here is a photo from the model in the City’s information office, starting from the left where the remaining rail lines run along the site:

Our tour starts on the bridge over the tracks at the lower left of the model.

The original ground level for the area is where the tracks are. The 10m high dark gray podium starting at the edge of the tracks is a very large building housing locomotive and railway repair and maintenance shops. On top of that is a parking garage for the office buildings above. The new podium is remarkably high, and I heard it called Butte Clichy (second in height only to nearby Butte Montmartre).

The international trend to black office buildings was evident here too. There is a dearth of large floor plate office space in Paris and these buildings are all presold/leased.


On the other side of these office towers, also above the locomotive works and garages, is an elevated street that services both the office buildings and on the further side of the street, the residential buildings located between the street and the park:

The street-on-a-deck has a number of interesting features, subject of a future story here. Stay tuned…

On the residential side of the street are apartment towers. On their “back side” it is a very steep landscaped slope back down to ground level (pictures to come …) although I see many clues that the ground level is really the roof deck of a parking structure.


The residential building sites were sold for towers in groups of 3. One building is condos for sale at market prices. The second is market rentals with some units capped for 60th and 40th market percentiles (please don’t quote me on the exact percentiles, the literature offers conflicting numbers and the Paris docent wasn’t always easy to follow). The third tower is rented¬† as mixed income with varying percentiles as low as 30% of market rates (the social housing component is not necessarily government owned).

The City staff insisted one could not tell from the exteriors which building was which, they were all of excellent design. But … materials and finishes were different and it wasn’t hard to hazard a guess.

The overall project objective is 30 to 50% “social housing” component, including domestic shelters, student residences, church-run housing, seniors residences, retirement homes, and very low income households. (pictures in future stories, stay tuned)

Note: at this point in time, the City of Ottawa’s fabled “southern gateway” at Preston-Carling has two freehold condo towers (owner occupied and market rentals), two student residence towers, and one mixed building of market rentals with a number of three bedroom units somehow funded by the City.¬†

Beyond the first street of residential buildings lies the central park, named after MLK. Here’s a snap from the model:

At the far north end of the park is the new staircase-shaped Palais Justice by Renzo Piano. It is about 50 stories high (160m) on a massive hardened podium that was not, in my opinion, street friendly.

To the right of MLK park is the east neighbourhood, which is supposed to blend into the existing urban fabric and integrate the old and new residents. These towers appeared to have been occupied for several years and include a few buildings designed and built for an earlier-version of the project.



more to come …

Thank you for reading. So what do you think?