In 2004, the city of Paris launched a competition to design a new cultural building at the site of a 1907 industrial warehouse facility for the Port of Paris. The existing structure, the first reinforced concrete building in Paris, could be demolished or incorporated into the new proposal according to the competition requirements.

Jakob+MacFarlane‘s winning entry retains the existing structure, cladding it with a dynamic steel and glass skin, and capping it with a new top floor and rooftop public space. Referred to interchangeably as the “Docks de Paris” or the “Docks en Seine,” the building’s main tenant is a fashion academy, L’institut Français de la Mode.

A special temporary installation of industrial and fashion design work gave us the opportunity to see the building ahead of its completion date this fall. As the first people to arrive on the morning of the opening, we had the entire building to ourselves to explore. During the course of the trip, we saw further examples of the work of Jakob+MacFarlane, including their Restaurant Georges in the Centre Pompidou, and their Docks de Lyon at the rapidly redeveloping Lyon waterfront.

– Steven Christensen