Panoramic View of a Part of the Park Andre Citroen
Panoramic View of a Part of the Park Andre Citroen

Parc Andre Citroen: The Controversial Beautiful Park

Parc Andre Citroen, located in the south-west of the French capital, is the subject of a series of articles on its design, implementation and functionality.

As it is a special conception and aesthetic public park and one of the most important landscape architecture works of the 20th century, it will also receives special treatment for its presentation.

That is, as usual, the presentation of a project first occurs, and then – possibly – its criticism – but for this project, here, will be the reverse: the critique will unfold first and then the presentation will follow.

Why;

Because, as the English say, ‘there’s method in our madness’.

An indispensable adjunct to the paid balloon is every postmodern park – and vice versa?

Flower pots with Crapemyrtles and the Balloon of Parc Andre Citroen Paris
Flower pots with Crapemyrtles and the Balloon of Andre Citroen Park

Parc Andre Citroen

Panoramic View of a Large Part of the Andre Citroen Park
Panoramic View of a Large Part of the Andre Citroen Park

Parc Andre Citroen

Parc Andre Citroen and Postmodern

In the view of the French, the garden and the park have different conceptual content: the garden is a place of reverie, meditation and thought while the park is a place of action.

At the Parc Andre Citroen, these two concepts are parathesised next to each other, the garden as a dynamically ‘motionless’ place, and the park as a non-action place ‘in motion’.

The logic of the parathesis but not of the synthesis (composition) serves the postmodern design fable. Its constitutive pursuit is through the simultaneous use of different historical styles to create aesthetic entities where the unifying element is itself the creation.

A tangible demonstration of this is the choice of the two landscape architects, of the two different but rather similar designs and proposals, to collaborate parathetically – as can be seen from the result – for the creation of the park. In this parathetical way, they also managed to break out of the stalemate the jury of the competition, which was unable to mark one as the winner.

The co-operation of Alain Provost and Gilles Clement resulted in Park Andre Citroen.

The whole process, as well as the Parc Andre Citroen, is an excellent example of the postmodern.

The Central Lawn Area and the Two Big Greenhouses at the Andre Citroen Park
The Central Lawn Area and the Two Big Greenhouses at the Andre Citroen Park

Parc Andre Citroen

The Critics Against Parc Andre Citroen

Such an approach may be re-positioned the criticizing about the Parc Andre Citroen at least as its usable dimension on a new basis. The criticism of the park focuses mainly on two things:

  • In its ‘antisocial’ character
  • To its discouragement of action and activities

Its ‘antisocial’ character is highlighted by the ‘provocatorial’ disproportionate lack of seats. Lack of seats undermines the ability of visitors, potential or real communities to come closer.

The discouragement of activities starts from an outset of design absence of such character spaces and culminates in a symbolic level of prohibitions through sign boards that do not allow swimming or playing in the fountains.

It could be a ‘provocator’ to say – whatever the designer’s intentions – the Parc Andre Citroen is offered as the public green place equivalent of the private food chain stores (fast-food).

Perhaps this logic also includes the presence and paid use of the famous balloon of the park since 1999.

The Serial Thematic Gardens of the Andre Citroen Park from High
The Serial Thematic Gardens of the Andre Citroen Park from High

Parc Andre Citroen

The 50% Declaration Failure

The stated intention of the Park Andre Citroen creators was beyond the deliverance to the local community or – generally – to the public of a perfectly green aesthetic green space – which they did – also to give the stimulus to think about the real ecological problem – which they failed.

The 50% failure is based partly on the nature and location of the Parc Andre Citroen itself – a park embedded in the urban fabric of the metropolis, Paris, can not embody and highlight ecological issues.

On the other hand, is also based partly on the postmodern perception of the work itself – the postmodern concept, which is distrustful of the ‘post-fables’, that is to say the philosophical view of things.

The philosophy of the point of view of postmodernism is more or less a pseudoscience, whose only real duty is to solve the pseudo-problems created by the influence of language on intellect.

If the ecological issue, which is first and foremost a matter of social relations and its effect on nature, does not have strong philosophical foundations, then it is not really ecological, but a discussion about the proper or non-management of nature, that is, man-made environment.

But the environmental issue is not ecological. If it is considered as such, then by analogy, it is nothing more than the ‘carnival’ of ecology.

At Andre Citroen Park Children Play at the Fountains. Social Disobedience in Action.
At Andre Citroen Park Children Play at the Fountains. Social Disobedience in Action.

Parc Andre Citroen

A Minimal Visual Flavor from Parc Andre Citroen

Before we dive into the deep waters of the park’s great canal – in the next part of the tribute – let’s first read its novel.

What kind of novel?

But if a picture is worth a thousand words, then 6 photos are equal to a novel – that kind.

The Novel: 1. Birches and Buxus in a Part of the Park Andre Citroen, 2. In the White Garden the Esplanade Max Guedj , 3. Park Andre Citroen & the Central Lawn, Canal, Train Bridge and the Seine, 4. Autumn View of a Park Andre Citroen Section in the Black Garden, 5. The Central Section of the Black Garden, 6. A Peripheral Elevated Walkway in the Park Andre Citroen

Parc Andre Citroen

References

And how is a novel read? Well, in this case, the novel about Park Andre Citroen is read with the accompaniment of the musical creation of the excellent Tinariwen desert artists.

Tinariwen and Chet Boghassa.

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Tinariwen - Chet Boghassa
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  1. Ayers, A. (2004). The Architecture of Paris: An Architectural Guide. Edition Axel Menges.
  2. Racine, M., Provost, A., & Baridon, M. (2004). Allain Provost, landscape architect, Invented landscapes ’64-’04. Oostkamp : Stichting Kunstboek.
  3. Rocca, A. (2008). Planetary Gardens: The Landscape Architecture of Gilles Clément. Birkhauser.

Le parc André-Citroën fête ses 20 ans en s’agrandissant: Le Figaro

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