Author : Antoine Ceunebroucke

University : Ecole Nationale Superieure d’Architecture de Versailles

Status : BArch, 2014

Advisor : Florian Hertweck

Title : HyperBallad

“It is more difficult to find the system when it is complicated by the existing, for example, that of an old baroque city, or a system of railway 19th century, or a network of medieval streets; however, we need a system that can simultaneously come to accommodate the existing and still produce a clear pattern on the ground, that can handle the whole problem and produce a new potential ” A. and P. Smith, 1957

This project serves a utopian scenario concerning the  [ de-densification ] of the city of Paris.

In regards to studying and researching in the field of sociology, the project has struck aim to the neighborhood of the Goutte d’Or. The following is an itinerary, from the experience in the field up to the final project…

[ The Tablecloth ] is a new city-overlay upon the old city-grid, that stems from a collection of courtyards. In this experiment, the courts have two additional functions: 1) to provide spatial support for these new-city modules to structurally project from 2) to hijack this notion of existing open/public space as access nodes in inhabiting the floating modules.

This is an experiment which consists of superimposing a new city on the existing city. It is the model of vertical cities as they are more or less uniquely composed high towers. It provides a solution for accommodating the future inhabitants of Paris. The top layer is analogue to today’s generic cities growing in height. The two layers, one new and one old, have no link between them. Like the [ MEGA-structures ] of Constant, the new city ignores the ancient city. And this form of densification prevents coexistence between the two cities. The district of la Goutte d’or, representing the ancient city, is wasting away in favor of the upper stratum, without light or ventilation.

[ The Tube ] is an experiment of a compact city with continuity, which overlaps over the area of ​​the Goutte d’Or. The section of the tube shows that the accommodations are located at the edge of the city that house multiple programs within. In this proposal, there is the preservationist concern not to overwrite the old city, but to add value to the existing urban fabric. This utopian proposal is similar to the continuous city of R. Abraham. He described it as “the altar of mechanical bowel”.

[ The Hives ] are very dense objects; they contain between 1200 – 1300 nuits. They are compact architectures that take root in courtyards. They are pierced to illuminate the interior which house spaces for relaxation, and to allow people to escape the intensity of the HyperDense city. With this proposal, the city is considerably denser and public spaces become very intensely populated.

Through realization, the three previous proposals of densification are more or less related to the 60s such as the  [ MEGA-structures ] of Friedman, Constant and Abraham. One can ask, if this was indeed the most interesting way to [ de-densify ] the Goutte d’Or? This is a current topic in a society which is increasingly aware of sustainable development and ecology. In addition, this is a way to provide and integrate [green spaces] in the heart of Paris, which are usually found only in Parisian suburbs or in the countryside. Indeed, [ The Spheres ] do not contain dwellings but natural areas and sports facilities. Paris is the most dense city in Europe, in fact, la Goutte d’Or is one of the densest neighborhoods in Europe. In this context, this experimental project brings to the inhabitants “empty” spaces, natural park to the slopes via a zoo, tennis courts, the artificial lakes etc …

The Spheres are not quite the utopian project one envisions, because of the edges of the structure(s) are too precisely drawn and the size is too small. So through [ The Shelves ], the idea of de-densification are clearly shown and it brings nature into the city with fragments of superposed landscapes on every shelf.

The inner [courtyards] of the apartment buildings, in contrast to the public spaces, are totally empty and significantly [unused] by their inhabitants; simply an urban collective with potential to be rethought and re-adapted to new use(s). The following is a collective research + analytics in relation to these potential semi-private courtyard spaces…

At the Goutte d’Or, the courtyards represent a sizable surface. The space of the yards were explored further in order to densify the neighborhood with multi-use conditions: housing, stores, offices and facilities.

All these « new cities », superimposed on the existing city grid. Note: (the Goutte d’Or neighbourhood) is centered on the courtyards.

Nature in the city is a current topic in this era where sustainable development and ecological awareness are more and more present.


S//A : What’s the most important aspect of this project that we should be aware of?
Antoine Ceunebroucke_ There is an another way to speak and think about “dé-densification”. It is at the same time “densification” and “dé-densification”.

S//A : What other fields outside of architecture interest you?
AC_ Video and cinéma. I love to explore the relationship that one can create between images and sound.

S//A : Most important thing you learned in architecture school?
AC_ To be creative.

S//A : Describe your dream project
AC_ … be determined in the future.