1 — 15 September 2017

2012 — ongoing

By numbers
1 linear km long
10 floors
6,000 people hosted

On présente parfois La Caravelle comme «la plus grande barre de France».

The banlieues represent the urban areas created at the outskirts of major French cities in the fifties and sixties. To cope with the severe housing shortage after WWII, and to counter the informal shantytown settlements (bidonvilles) that had grown in response to this the French governments instigated the construction of large-scale housing projects, whose forms owed much to modernist architecture as espoused by Le Corbusier and CIAM: the “Grands Ensembles”.

These building complexes stand for their oversized urbanism and their rough and poetic appearance; they often represent a sort of cultural and social failure. In this context ʽLa Caravelle’ remains a significative case study because it represents, unlike most of the others, a place where the grand ensemble tends to blend the metròpolis, Paris. This status has been generated by an intervention of urban re-modelage which produced as a result a sort of désenclavement (breaking the isolation of the community).

Working on this site does not only mean dealing with the fascinating power of the magnificent grand ensembles, but above all focusing on the relationship between them and the rest of the city. The ideas of enclavement and désenclavement recur constantly juxtaposing the ideas of opening and closing. It recurs both from a physical and a metaphorical point of view. Re-thinking the grand ensembles populating the Parisian banlieue is extremely significant against the ghettoisation, depersonalization and the social exclusion which are typical of these urban districts.

About la Caravelle: La Caravelle is a housing complex consisting of 1-kilometer-long plan. The complex was built during “The Glorious Thirty” as a refuge for the myriad of people that was at that time looking for a place to live in France. In that period this building was considered an admirable plastic work designed by Jean Dubuisson. At the beginning of the XXI century something started to go wrong. In contrast with the ideals of equality and dignity characteristic of the Modern Movement, criminal activities brought the area to a bigger and bigger state of degradation. The building has become an enclave averse to rest of the city, especially the mother-city, Paris.

In the 20ies La Caravelle was among the six Grand Paris’ districts most criminogenic in France.

The French government together the Atelier Castro from 1995 till 2003 realised a re-modelage of the area. Through punctual demolitions they created a new viability restoring the complex’s connection with the larger city. With the construction of smaller appendix and new buildings they attempted to reintegrate La Caravelle into the larger plan of the Grand Paris.

“On complique un système trop simple”
(Roland Castro)



Marina Caneve (1988) is a visual artist based in Italy and The Netherlands.

Facing to the inevitable – that means changes that are so prominent that people can only adapt their lives – her intention is to reconstruct things that seems too big and complex to be depicted. Her artistic research combined with a strong planning attitude aims to the construction of a mosaic of reality and result in the use of several forms of expression, ranging from fine art photography, production of books and video installations.

Caneve’s work has been exhibited internationally at institutions such as La Biennale di Venezia (Venice), ALT.+1000 (Switzerland), Fondazione Benetton (Treviso), Savignano Immagini Festival (Savignano sul Rubicone), Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa (Venice), Centquatre (Paris). She is co-founder of CALAMITA/Á an interdisciplinary platform focusing on the geopolitical and especially the Vajont catastrophe.




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