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God in the City

 
 
The topic of the study presented here is a multi-religious community centre comprising Worship places of the three monotheist religions in the city centre of Bobigny (Seine-Saint-Denis), located on a part of the commercial centre near the nerve centre of public transport beside the prefecture.

Today, the commercial centre has become an essential element within the main city space, acting as substitute to the church, to the town-hall, or to the civic centre with a trivialization of architecture.

The city does not have particular identity; the population is denied a place for collective memory and cannot continue to build a common History.

The trivialization of the main city space program leads to an identity loss. The project consists in giving a meaning again to this major element of space with the proposition of “a religious community space” intended for all Balbynians whoever they are.

The program brings together places of worship corresponding to different cultures of residents, a centre with civic, social, cultural, and sporting activities. The respect of cultural differences can affirm that integration does not mean assimilation. While each religion has a separate room, the faithfull share all the other facilities: library, classrooms, reception rooms.

The project tries to build collective links through religious, cultural and social practices. Its aim is to propose, trough this program, a new qualification for the main space of the city, to create a reference mark and give the population a symbol of its city through the idea of a modern moral authority.

The sacralisation of this place must find a sense of common values; the faithfull as well as atheist must fint there a collective identity.

This study has also the ambition to take part in the urban coherence of the territory while working on various levels of flagstones and seeks to find a more human size.

The modernity of monotheist religions is within a constant worry of people to be human. It seems quite logical to ensure that each one can find a place where he can bloom his own identity, not in an isolated community, but within a sociaty integrated into the city.

Public space federates a collective movement where each individual borrows the same course which serves the whole of the programs. A square, around which buildings set up and open on the administrative place, offers a new heart to the city.

The places of worship are integrated into an urban system in which they are clearly identifiable but they are not automated there.

The project seeks to find the traditional place of the church which remains the centrality of the old city in a square where the worship is integrated into the city, in a spirit of modernity, and especially adapted to the every day life.

The diversity of programs must lead a very heteroclite population to be attended and build collective links. The set of the project creates a connection and a place of life between the administrative prefect's place and the shopping centre. The borrowed way is a progressive increase towards the existing level of reference of the shopping centre.

The inhabitants are invited to traverse this space each day and each hour for different reasons and to make a true place of life of it by adapting.



Edwige Dassonville, architecte DPLG
Revue « Pouvoirs locaux », les Cahiers de la Décentralisation, N°69 II, Mai 2006- p.126
 
 

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