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MIASTO (Michel Lefebvre, Jan Karczewski, Witold Zandfos)

©François Lauginie

  • Section de ville cellulaire verticale, 1966
  • Scale model
  • Résine, bois, peinture
  • 130 x 90 x 50 cm
  • Donation MIASTO (Michel Lefebvre, Jan Karczewski, Witold Zandfos)
  • 012 015 001

Ville plastique, 1965-1967

In 1965, at the Paris Biennale, MIASTO won the first prize for teamwork with their project Ville plastique, an installation in the form of a sound slide show projected onto a circular screen. Made up of thermo-hardened plastic cells affixed to supporting “legs” containing networks and communication sheaths, the Ville plastique developed vertically above the natural ground, with the whole forming a living organic ensemble, in which cells could be added or removed at will. Its organization depended essentially on a network laid out at the start of the project. This created a winding main line along which vertical junctions, 150 metres/500 feet high, were gradually installed. For MIASTO, the embryo of a city must perforce contain the principles which will guide its future development, but without forming a rigid framework, which would thus become inoperative over time. Here, the basic network permits a free and adapted installation of the vertical structures, all the more so because the topography no longer represents an obstacle, because the cells are affixed a certain distance above the ground, and individual transport, which is banned inside the city, pushes automobiles back to the outskirts into car parks reserved for external connections. If the cells can be replaced in relation to requirements, in the Ville plastique each housing unit must also reflect the personality of each resident, whence the need to vary the shape of the housing units. MIASTO thus resorted to prefabrication—not just to standardization, which merely culminates in uniformity, but to an advanced industrialization limiting to a maximum the number of interventions during the manufacture of the cells, which nevertheless permitted a differentiation in the units produced. They used an inexpensive inflatable mould, which they subjected to deformations, giving rise to large dwellings of varying sizes, all fully equipped. Defined by a double shell made of reinforced polyester and expanded foam insulation, the strong, light cell of the Ville plastique would be used again and developed in 1967 for the “European House” Ghent Competition. MIASTO produced the development plan for a whole residential neighbourhood, a group of 400 housing units treated like single-family homes. The housing units were clustered in groups around three large areas with geometric outlines, and provided a maximum continuity at ground level because they were raised up on supports of variable heights. Freed of all automobile traffic, the neighborhood developed a complex network of access ways and links for both pedestrians and vehicles. The continuity sought outside was also to be found inside the developed cells: in them, the structure of the walls defined the furnishing at the same time. The model of a plastic cell would be manufactured with the help of St-Gobain, using a latex ball; it would be modified in 1969 and presented (in its current version) at the Concours International d’Urbanisme at Cannes.

Inventory / Slideshow [4]