David Georges Emmerich

Les Bateaux-mouches, 1970

En collaboration avec Alain Chassagnoux

Designed in 1970 for the Quais de Seine de Paris, the Bateaux-mouches project is his first tensegrity project, also called “a floating establishment coming to the aid of the habitat.” Emmerich designed an inhabitable stereometric capsule for the pontoon of the Bateaux-mouches (the current pontoon moored near the Pont de l’Alma), to be a work of architecture without foundation or façade. The project was designed with several variations: a superstructure for reception, comprised of 3 tensegrity “tetrakaidecahedrons” (polyhedrons with six square sides and 8 hexagonal sides), each measuring 20 meters, and a secondary suspended structure, composed of modular “hexadecahedric”  (16 sides) compartments, to which it was possible to add some tetrahedrons. Though the main structure is stationary – its height prohibited it from passing under the bridges – the number of compartments could vary according to need. A crystal agglomeration of polyhedrons, the Bateaux-mouches project looks like a space that is “fluid, rhythmic and more ample all at the same time,” in which right angles and orthogonality no longer exist. Despite the fact that the construction of one of the pontoons was well advanced, the order was cancelled, abandoning what was supposed to become a hotel suspended in the planning stages.

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