This Paris Life

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La Barre Macdonald: Paris’ longest building welcomes its first inhabitants

Former Parisian warehouse located in the 19th arrondissement has delivered its first housing units.

After 5 years of conversion work, what was once a large railway warehouse bordering the ring road in the northeast corner of Paris is nearing completion. Families have already moved in to the units, half of which will be low-income housing.Totalling 617 metres in length, La Barre Macdonald is the longest building in Paris. By September three more housing units will be completed and ready to accommodate new families.

Alongside apartments, retail and public facilities — such as libraries and schools — comprising 32,000 square meters, the site will contain the Cargo, an infrastructure housing digital start-ups.

It will eventually host 1,000 people working in 15,000 square meters spread over six stories, making it the largest start-up structure of its type in Europe. Costing 63.5 million euros, the project was funded by the municipality, the region and the property management office of the city of Paris.

“The Cargo” earned its nautical name thanks to the large circular windows resembling a ship’s portholes adorning its façade. Architect Odile Decq told Figaro Immobilier that her design aimed to “break with traditional office aesthetics by creating round openings for young people working with new technology”.

Cargo Offices Round Windows

Once completed, this project will join others, such as the Welcome City Lab — space for start-ups specialising in tourism — and the Tremplin — specialised in sport — in enabling the French capital to reach one of mayor Anne Hidalgo’s campaign pledges: to see 200,000 new square meters of start-up incubators, telecommuting centers and co-working spaces by 2020. She plans to make Paris one of the world’s “digital capitals”, by encouraging start-ups to “invent the digital services of tomorrow”.

Accordingly, Hidalgo plans to spread a free Wifi network to the entire city, so that “you never have to walk more than 5 minutes before finding a free internet hotspot anywhere in Paris”.

Located near the Cité des Sciences in La Villette, La Barre Macdonald will resemble a self-contained little town within the city, with digital services and innovation at its heart.

Opposite the converted Macdonald warehouse a new station will open its turnstiles to users by the end of 2015. The Rosa Parks station — as it will be called — will connect to the RER E, allowing travelers to reach the Saint-Lazare station in only seven minutes.


Photos curtesy of Studio Odile Decq 

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