March 6, 2012

Aerial photography has always fascinated me. As has, of course, Paris, one of the most perfectly-rendered master plans ever (courtesy of Baron Haussmann in the late C19th) and incidentally, home of my maternal grandmother – the most formative force in my most formative years.

There’s an undeniable fascination with perspectives only achieved from the air; witness our collective addiction to Google Earth. It allows us to view the world at almost any scale, as it exists today (or more accurately, as it existed a year or so ago when the images were recorded.) Unless of course, you’re in Paris, where the clever folk at le Pavillon de L’Arsenal have created a 37 m2 digital panel that makes use of the same Google technology to let people explore the city of Paris in the year 2020.

The exhibition, titled ‘Paris and it’s Evolution’, is a comprehensive look at all that Paris, that most iconic of cities, was, is, and will be. It brings together over 1000 archived documents, photographs, maps, plans and films, along with this remarkable digital panel, which provides constantly-updated interactive 2D and 3D models of the key zones marked out for redevelopment. Actively engaging the end-user is the only way to ensure an appropriate outcome – a process we at Tobias Partners also ascribe to – and it’s an enlightened approach every city should embrace.

Author: Nick tobias