A new high-tech exhibit at the Pavillon de l’Arsenal, Paris’ architecture museum, is giving visitors an entirely new way of looking at the city and its prospects for growth over the next decade. A huge new digital panorama of the city hopes to document some of the proposed changes to the urban landscape.
Ever since Baron Hausmann invented the idea of modern city planning back in the nineteenth century, the street plan of modern Paris has fascinated residents, visitors and urban planning specialists. Until recently, the Pavillon de l’Arsenal, near the Seine in central Paris, has attempted to satisfy that curiosity with a huge scale model of the city centre as the centre-piece of its collection. Ongoing developments, including recent plans to extend the city limits, have left it somewhat out of date, giving impetus to the new project to offer visitors a digital overview of central Paris.
The huge 100 Megapixel display, based around 48 fifty-inch flatscreen TVs, shows data from Google Earth. Four computers around the outside allow visitors to pick out areas of the city that they want to zoom in on. The idea behind the project is not just to give a bird’s eye view of the city as it is now, but to change and adapt over time. It can also offer a preview of the various urban development schemes that have been suggested as part of the Paris 2020 project, which seeks to radically redefine the city in the coming decade.
The unique collaboration between Google, advertising giant JCDecaux and the museum was a big technical feat, but it’s certainly a better alternative to a dry old scale model. It measures over thirty-seven square metres and has taken months to plan and install, as this video, which includes the removal of the old scale model and the new digital version, makes clear:
The new digital display forms part of a new permanent exhibition at the Pavillon de l’Arsenal, which also offers temporary thematic shows as well as guided walks and tours around Paris and the surrounding region.
What: New digital exhibition at the Pavillon de l’Arsenal urban planning museum
Where: 21, boulevard Morland, metro Sully-Morland
When: Tuesday to Saturday 10:30 am to 6:30 pm and Sunday 11 am to 7 pm