Just upstream from the historic core of Paris the skyline bristles with cranes. A huge redevelopment project is transforming old industrial land on the left bank of the Seine, between the river and the railway tracks. It’s called Paris Rive Gauche and is divided into ten separate quartiers of housing, offices, public buildings and open spaces.
Austerlitz Sud is a narrow strip alongside the railway tracks leading to Gare d’Austerlitz. Five huge buildings line the south side of the street, each designed by a different firm of architects.
Essentially all five office blocks are big glass and steel boxes but the external details make for interesting contrasts and dramatic photos.
According to the project website, the development is a conscious move away from the Haussmannian concept of continuous city blocks, letting light and air into the public spaces in between. Although most of the buildings aren’t finished yet one new public space is already accessible, an ‘urban balcony’ on the south side of the new blocks.
This sunny, terraced walkway overlooks the railway tracks and the historic buildings beyond; a pleasant stroll and an interesting view (through the grid of a steel mesh fence).