Paris mayoral candidates are removing the ace in their sleeves in order to gain the elections which are due in March 2014, but the most pertinent and auspicious idea belongs to Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, who wishes the City of Lights to have the first metro in the world turned into a swimming pool, subterranean garden, theater, restaurant, art gallery and nightclub.
The former minister of ecology and the French Right’s brightest star, Kosciusko-Morizet has already asked architects Nicolas Laisne and Manal Rachdi to draw up the sketches in order to paint a picture of how Arsenal metro station and seven others will look like if Paris is to have its first metro turned into a swimming pool, restaurant or anything that best describes the word “hotspot.” Reviving the renowned Arsenal metro station, which has been out of service for 75 years, is applauded by some Parisians and blogger Messy Nessy pointed out that Petite Ceinture, the city’s inner railway, could bring Paris its glam not only above the ground, but also underneath.
The reason why these stations gained the first name “ghost” was because some of them were closed down when passengers did not use it anymore, while others never saw the inauguration day after plans were abandoned and access from the streets were not built anymore. However, Paris mayoral candidate Kosciusko-Morizet wishes to repurpose the subway stations, especially since the Parisian metro system is the sixth-largest in the world. Although the City of Lights carries approximately 1.5 billion passengers per year, 11 stations remain unused. For this reason, Kosciusko-Morizet vowed to make Paris a neater capital and offer even workout places that could balance the city’s lack of sporting facilities.
“This project aims to bring back to life these ghost stations by giving them a new purpose,” architect Rachi said.
A series of sketches have been revealed in order to give Parisians an idea of how the “ghost” metro stations would look like if they were repurposed. In an interview with French Elle, the mayoral candidate mentioned that these metro stations are also Parisians’ chance to interact with new people on a regular basis. Calling the Paris metro “a charming place,” Kosciusko-Morizet wished to give new purposes to the abandoned metro stations that would redefine the Parisian lifestyle and the concept of indoor swimming pool and more.
As much as Paris mayoral candidate Kosciusko-Morizet wishes to repurpose the “ghost” metro stations, Jean-Michel Leblanc, a Regie Autonome des Transports Parisiens employee, told Le Parisien that this plan is feasible, but it could be a difficult and costly dream. He mentioned that the narrow platforms, the electrical rails and the passage of trains would probably prevent the project from going as smooth as Kosciusko-Morizet wants and that ensuring public safety is highly expensive.
However, advocates of the plan have already uttered that private investment opportunities will be explored in order to allow Paris’ Arsenal to be turned into a swimming pool.
However, even if the idea is put into practice, Paris is not the first city to have its metro given a new purpose. Sweden has turned its Tranebergbron bridge into a protected promenade, art gallery and outdoor cinema and New York transformed its abandoned subway stations into a location for underground parties.
If Kosciusko-Morizet is elected, Paris will have its first metro turned into a swimming pool and other ambitious projects like subterranean gardens and restaurants could give a new meaning to the idea of repurposed locations.
By Gabriela Motroc