Passerelle du Couchant
Paris La Défense has undertaken a major study to improve links between the business district and the cities of Courbevoie and Puteaux. One of the priority projects consists of renovating and enhancing several emblematic footbridges in the area. This project has a double objective, both to restore structures damaged by time and to give an overall coherence and identity to the footbridges of Paris La Défense.
Several footbridges in the district have been the subject of this enhancement: Jean Moulin, Orme, Triangle, Terre Blanche in Puteaux, Louis Blanc, Reflets, Alsace in Courbevoie. The Couchant (Puteaux) and Aigle (Courbevoie) footbridges will be delivered at the end of summer 2021. The world-renowned architectural firm Dietmar Feichtinger Architectes was commissioned by Paris La Défense to rehabilitate these structures, because in addition to technical renovation, it is also a question of aesthetic enhancement of the structures. Thus, the footbridges will benefit from new coverings, luminous slabs and night lighting in order to improve user comfort (particularly for people with reduced mobility).
Objectives and challenges of the footbridge enhancement project
To give a legibility, an urban function and an identity to aging structures
More than just a technical renovation and restoration of the structures, the objective of the enhancement of the footbridges is to give an urban function to these structures through their illumination, the creation of relaxation areas, the consideration of user comfort (accessibility for people with reduced mobility, for example) and the proposal of a discovery trail of the district. This legibility and identity is reflected in the creation of a red thread, a common language between all the walkways. The architect's proposal to materialize this red thread by means of luminous slabs or plays of light, and the harmonization of the coverings and railings, gives the whole an identity that does not exist today.
Connecting the neighborhoods and creating gateways to the historic heart of Paris La Défense
These pedestrian connections are physical and symbolic links that aim to connect the territories to each other, and the cities to the slab, with the major challenge of transforming these walkways into more engaging public spaces. While the function of these footbridges is primarily to allow the crossing of transportation routes, they also have a welcoming function on the site.
Enhance the urban and architectural heritage of Paris La Défense
Unique and atypical because of its vertical architecture and its history, Paris La Défense also conceals grandiose panoramas, spectacular buildings, but also lesser-known landscape views. To highlight this singularity, the architectural proposal integrates glass desks and screens in the railings of each footbridge. Like the structures, these elements will be backlit at night.
During the work on the Couchant footbridge, vibrations are sometimes felt by users. No need to worry! The subject is known and controlled by the project management and the companies working on this structure, and does not present any danger. In fact, the metal structure of the footbridge vibrates, particularly during windy periods, and this phenomenon has been reinforced since part of its load was removed (planters). The execution studies took this situation into account before the start of the works. No particular structural risk has been identified.
Eventually, the footbridge will be equipped with an anti-vibration system in the structural box. This system, consisting of a dynamic damper, will significantly reduce the phenomenon of vibration (the footbridge was previously without such a system).
Click to enlarge
Did you know ?
On some of the renovated footbridges, you can admire the landscape through a giant glass screen created by Etienne Rey, a visual artist from Marseilles, who works on the notion of space and perception.