The innovative design of the Parc de la Villette was inspired by postmodernist architecture. Its unique attractions, such as the collection of 35 architectural follies, ten themed gardens and the biggest science museum in Europe, bring over 10 million visitors annually. The park is also a contemporary melting pot of cultural expression.
Since its completion in 1987, the Parc de la Villette has become a popular attraction for Paris residents and international travellers alike. It is also a place where local artists and musicians produce exhibits and performances, and where an annual open-air film festival takes place. Festivals are common in the park along with artist conventions and shows by performers.
The park was developed in 1987 as part of an urban renewal plan. It was designed by Bernard Tschumi, a French architect of Swiss origin, who won a major design competition for the park in 1983, and incorporated ideas of the deconstructionist philosopher Jacques Derrida while designing his project.
The area of the park was previously occupied by slaughterhouses and the national wholesale meat market. The construction of the park was finished in 1987.
The park is meant to be a place inspired by the postmodernist architectural ideas of deconstructivism. Upon arrival in the park, visitors are thrust into a world that is not defined by conventional architectural standards.
Tschumi’s design was in part a response to the philosophy of Jacques Derrida, acting as an architectural experiment in space, form, and how those relate to a person’s ability to recognise and interact. The design of the park is organised into a series of points, lines and surfaces. According to Tschumi, the intention of the park was to create space for activity and interaction rather than to adopt the conventional park scheme of ordered relaxation and self-indulgence. The vast expanse of the park allows visitors to walk about the site with a sense of freedom and opportunity for exploration and discovery.
The follies are considered to be the most iconic pieces of the park. In architecture, a folly is a building constructed primarily for decoration. The follies are meant to act as points of reference that help visitors to gain a sense of direction and to navigate throughout the space.
While the follies are meant to exist in a ‘deconstructive vacuum’ without historical relation, many have found connections between the steel structures and the previous buildings that had been a part of the old industrial area. Today, the follies remain as cues to organisation and direction for park visitors. Recently, some of the follies have been renovated to house restaurants, information centres, and other functions associated with the park’s needs that were not envisioned in the original design.
Parc de le Villette has a collection of ten themed gardens that attract a large number of visitors. Each garden is created by means of different architectural concepts, and tries to create space through playfully sculptural and clever measures.The gardens range in function; while some are meant for active engagement, others allow for relaxation.
While some of the gardens are minimalist in design, others were clearly constructed with children in mind. The gardens range in function; while some are meant for active engagement, others allow for relaxation
Festivals, artist conventions and shows by performers are common in the park. It is also the location of an annual open-air film festival. The park is also home to the biggest science museum in Europe and a domed theatre, as well as a site of cultural expression, where artists and musicians stage exhibits and performances.
The park houses public facilities devoted to science and music, playgrounds for children, and thirty-five architectural follies. It is also home to the biggest science museum in Europe and a domed theatre, as well as a site of cultural expression, where artists and musicians stage exhibits and performances.