Saturday, 30 April 2011


Beauvais is a small French city at the outskirts of Paris in Northern France. The city has 60.000 population however it hosts the most ambitious gothic cathedral ever built with the highest vault by 48m. The cathedral is incomplete due to the collapse of its 153m central tower in 1570.

The city's growth pace is not likely to change in the next decade. Although the city's airport, Beauvais Tille is becoming important for the use of Paris visitors. Ryan Air and other European economy airlines use this airport for the passengers of Disneyland and Paris.

Our cities today are defined by destinations instead of their whole urban identities. Bilbao is Guggenheim, Sydney is the Opera House, London is Swiss-Re, New York was the World Trade Center. Beauvais already has its own icon that is built with extreme craftsmanship and care. Partially renovated by Viollet de Luc but his proposal for the completion of the nave was never got to realization stage.

What makes Beauvais Cathedral very interesting for me is this building is not a touristic destination. Only in lunch time in a weekday the restaurants around the cathedral are packed with people and when it's work hours the cathedral and it's surroundings are empty.

My proposal is about taking advantage of this attention free, lonely icon, turning it into an icon used 24/7 by the city itself instead of aiming for the attention of the people around the world. A selfish use of the great interior and exterior of the cathedral for the city itself instead of a potential audience from Chile, Japan or Australia. Iconic architecture should not be aiming to become still image in handy-cams, ready for consumption; it has to be truly part of the city life it belongs to, similar to the HSBC building in Hong Kong.

The gothic cathedrals were designed for the breath taking experience of the interior with highest vaults that can ever be achieved without any structural interruption, with very controlled daylight entering into the space. However this ambition became reality without the technology we have today therefore Beauvais Cathedral will be collapsing in about ten years of time as it is predicted by Columbia University in New York. Beauvais Cathedral is surviving from this structural weakness with the temporary timber supports built inside.

My proposal will be allowing the removal of these supports in order to fully experience the interior. The project evolved around the exercises as response to the seven chapters from "Seven Lamps of Architecture" book by John Ruskin.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Recovering from the Jury

Looking for a scaling down operation, a more compact proposal after the reviews.