An architectural firm that is known for its biomimicry and energy-efficient buildings, Vincent Callebaut architectures, based in Paris, is one of the top 50 green planet architects in the world. It is led by architect Vincent Callebaut, the firm is famous for its futuristic designs, floating cities, and skyscrapers. 

The imagination is let run wild and free and the result is what people would have thought to be the impossible. An efficient, energy-packed team of architects, engineers, and scientists have produced some marvels of uber-stylish as well as stunning energy-efficient architectural pieces. 

Vincent Callebaut is lauded for being a people-friendly architect while also being an environment-friendly one. One of the firm’s recent work designs is worth a mention as we laud the team for its designs and construction marvels of the 21st century.

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The Green Line

The design proposal of the garden footbridge at Paris is a brainchild of the Vincent Callebaut Architectures as they strive to create a monumental public space that can be a new definition of the place. The proposal was designed for an international architectural design competition, reinventing cities. 

Also popularly called ‘The Green Line’, the firm says that the structure “generates its own energy from renewable sources, recycles its own waste and wastewater, and optimizes its needs thanks to Information and Communication Technologies”. 

The giant footbridge aims to restore urban connections as it links the Bercy Village to the Masséna district in Paris, acting as a strong link between the 12th and 13th-century arrondissements. The form of the architectural proposal is inspired, or rather, bio-inspired by the skeleton of a fish. 

The firm believes that the structure would act as a major urban link between two bodies of land, separated by the seine river, by the adoption of mutual sharing and flexible spaces. The Vincent Callebaut Architectures feels that they had envisioned a structure which “adapts to the needs of new generations and new constantly evolving uses”.

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The Program

The client for the project is Ceetrus, a leading real-estate developer, the structures being handled by Bollinger & Grohmann, the MEP by the green affair, and the landscaping by Sempervirens. 

The program of the project includes:

Training rooms: 3000 sqm
Catering area: 2000 sqm
Retail: 1000 sqm
Co-working: 1000 sqm
Business incubation: 2000 sqm
Vegetable gardens and roof orchards: 3500 sqm
Amphibian gardens on the bays: 8500 sqm

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Why is it Unique?

The Vincent Callebaut Architectures says that the green line is solely dedicated to the farmers of Paris (Parisculteurs). It reduces the negative impact of the result of food transportation. The restaurants use the vegetables and fruits cultivated there. Also, the bridge provides beautiful scenic views of the national library of France to the visitors. As Vincent Callebaut Architectures says, the green line is not merely a bridge, but a place to ‘have fun, learn, eat and innovate!’. 

It is an example of depolluting architecture which generates its own energy as per requirements using renewable resources; it also recycles stuff wherever possible!. The ‘Bow String’ typology’s hybrid variant is used to achieve a structure that resembles a 220m fish skeleton. 

Double arches make up the primary structure while a triplex of trays is suspended from it, becoming the secondary structure. The upper arch has a range of 20 meters while the lower arch has a range of 153 meters; the bridge does not cross the seine river perpendicularly. The foundation is planned to be in line with the quays, thus avoiding the alteration of the river water flow and not being a hindrance to navigation.

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The amphibian garden, a whole of 8500 sqm area, designed by Vincent Callebaut Architectures aims to serve some important and the ‘need-of-the-hour’ issue of the city such as:

Pollution Control: Tiny, almost invisible dust particles enter the human body, causing permanent damages in the long run. Paris is a victim of high air pollution. So, a nice pocket of forest covers the footbridge and the amphibian garden. This effectively reduces pollution and increases the air quality.

Filtration of used water: The lagoon plants’ roots in the amphibian garden trap the harmful particles mixed with water. The sanitary basins and the aquaponic basins collect rainwater.

The green line realizes the importance of renewable resources and makes maximum use of them, the main ones being: 

Solar energy: Hybrid solar panels are used
Wind energy: 56 axial magnetically levitated wind turbines are adopted
Fluvio-motive energy
Biomass energy

Four gardens are planned to be developed, each with a character and a purpose: 

The Fish Gardens: a huge area combined with a phyto-purification system ranged in lagoons. The garden also includes phyto-purifying plants.

The clean air garden: It adopts the concept of ‘depolluting terraces’

The carbon-absorbent garden: Carefully handpicked varieties of trees having high carbon-absorbent and carbon-storing abilities are selected.

Urban Agriculture and Participatory Greenhouses: The cultivated area.

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The Vincent Callebaut Architectures believes that the green line “promotes exchanges because it is a place of relaxation, contemplation, and well-being.” The modern, out-of-the-world, and a futuristic architectural piece that it seems to be, is, in reality, an environment and user-friendly, public space with a sense of sensitivity and protectiveness toward the environment.

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Sahana Swamy
Author

Sahana M Swamy is a third year architecture student at BMS College of Architecture, Bangalore. Besides art and architecture, Sahana loves history, movies, acting and photography. She believes that writing helps to de-stress and re-discover oneself.

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