Great Place Wednesday: Parc de La Villette, Paris France

The Parc de la Villette is one of the largest parks in Paris, located at the northeastern edge of the 19th arrondissement. The park houses one of the largest concentration of cultural venues in Paris, including the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie (City of Science and Industry), Europe’s largest science museum, three major concert venues and the prestigious Conservatoire de Paris.

The park was designed by Bernard Tschumi, a French architect of Swiss origin, who built it from 1984 to 1987 on the site of the huge Parisian abattoirs (slaughterhouses) and the national wholesale meat market, as part of an urban redevelopment project. The slaughterhouses, built in 1867 on the instructions of Napoléon III, had been cleared away and relocated in 1974. Tschumi won a major design competition in 1982–83 for the park, and he sought the opinions of the deconstructionist philosopher Jacques Derrida in the preparation of his design proposal.

Since the creation of the park, museums, concert halls, and theatres have been designed by several noted contemporary architects, including Christian de Portzamparc, Adrien Fainsilber, Philippe Chaix, Jean-Paul Morel, Méziane Azaïche, and Jean Nouvel, in addition to Mr. Tschumi.