Montparnasse station was built in the late 1950s, set back from the old Gare de l’Ouest, which no longer exists. It is the only example of an emblematic Modernist Movement station in Paris. It is also the most interesting architectural element of the Maine-Montparnasse project completed by AOM under the rigorous direction of Edgard Pisani. Primarily the work of Raymond Lopez and Michel Holley, Jean Dubuisson contributed by designing the residential units that make up part of the complex.
In 1986, the station was transformed by Jean- Marie Duthilleul, who added the Porte Océane. This structure, a huge, circular glass arc, marks the axis of the composition. In the end, the competition we took part in, the objective of which was to restructure the station, posed the following question: How can a renovation project be carried out successfully in the context of this unique urban block, a vestige of a Modernist Paris rapidly decried and condemned, and now proscribed? What kind of dialogue can we have with it? Howcan this architecture, so closely associated withits era, be brought into the 21st century and recast in a specific landscape, with its current and future functional urban constraints?
The architectural concept consists of visually transforming a building, while at the same time respecting its form and history. In order to pay homage in this way, the constituent elements of its “Modernist” architectural style must be isolated and highlighted, and the more anecdotal, perhaps less successful parts eliminated. This process involves a series of subjective judgments… We chose to emphasize the last two floors of Raymond Lopez’s design, dedicated to offices, by highlighting the “suspended attic” aspect of his ribbon-like structure.
This facade is provided with a new, mother-ofpearl Emalit surface, the transparent parts of which, in front of the existing windows, emerge from a cloudlike blur, an oceanic fragment of sky over the city of Paris…
Our proposal also highlights the curve of the Porte Océane, with a supple, undulating line of white drape hanging above it like a cloud.