Getting Around

Project Description

This project begins by attempting to deal with this situation; first, by selecting a prime site on the Boulevard Triomphal: the Place de la Paix, a roundabout where the boulevard meets the city's ring road before continuing on to the Cité de la Democratie. This location can operate as a central hub for the entire city with easy access to most destinations. In fact, it is already a popular location for people to flag down a taxi. The site would be transformed into a hub for the taxis/taxi-buses of the city; it would function as the main point of transfer for most trips. Curbside loading and unloading would occur at the periphery of the rotary, where simple signage that clearly labels destinations throughout the city would allow for much more efficient commuting.

The building itself would help facilitate pedestrian movement around the rotary by providing a continuous circulation path above street level. It would also establish a stronger connection between the Boulevard Triomphal and the developing civic and cultural campus in the Cité de la Democratie.

Wrapping this new taxi hub with a market that can leverage the influx of commuters to the site marks a first step in recoding the urbanism along the Boulevard, transforming it into a bustling pedestrian thoroughfare. Six cores, each touching down in different sectors of the rotary, support the circulatory rings above.

On ground level, an open market (with enclosed refrigeration facilities) interfaces with the existing informal settlement to the south of rotary. Facilities for the new, expanded taxi-system (a gas station and a taxi tea stand with parking where drivers can take breaks), also wrap the rotary at the ground level. A new welcome center for the Cité is located on the ground level as well. Two long ramps capable of accommodating small vehicles allow for easy access to the two levels above, which provide further open-air market space. Conditioned spaces selectively wrap the perimeters of the market rings, housing a control center and offices for the new taxi system headquarters, a new Department of Motor Vehicles, and public bathing facilities.

The integration of infrastructure and public space promised by this confluence of programs around a new, busy transportation hub proposes nothing short of a new urban idea for the city. The Place de la Paix has long been an important site for civic protest. Now, despite relatively little program explicitly dedicated to civic functions, the site is transformed into a newly visible and therefore powerful civic space.

The building's circular form, while obviously a response to the the site itself, is also a deliberate reference to the legacy of organicist architect, Marcello D'Olivo who was responsible for the city's first urban plan and whose buildings were once scattered throughout the city. Sadly, many of these buildings have been demolished by ANGT in its efforts towards modernization. By drawing on his formal approach, within which the circle operates as a base element, this project argues through homage for the preservation of what remains of D'Olivo's work.