AIA CES Credits
AV Office
Abstract Publication
Academic Affairs
Academic Calendar, Columbia University
Academic Calendar, GSAPP
Admissions Office
Advanced Standing Waiver Form
Alumni Board
Alumni Office
Anti-Racism Curriculum Development Award
Architecture Studio Lottery
Avery Library
Avery Review
Avery Shorts


STEM Designation
Satisfactory Academic Progress
Skill Trails
Student Affairs
Student Awards
Student Conduct
Student Council (All Programs)
Student Financial Services
Student Health Services at Columbia
Student Organization Handbook
Student Organizations
Student Services Center
Student Services Online (SSOL)
Student Work Online
Studio Culture Policy
Studio Procedures
Summer Workshops
Support GSAPP
This website uses cookies as well as similar tools and technologies to understand visitors' experiences. By continuing to use this website, you consent to Columbia University's usage of cookies and similar technologies, in accordance with the Columbia University Website Cookie Notice Group 6

Parc de la Villette at 40

Columbia GSAPP celebrates the 40th Anniversary
of Bernard Tschumi’s Parc de La Villette

A cake-made reconstruction of the park’s famous grid of red folies offered a setting to celebrate Bernard Tschumi’s work in the company of architects and architectural theorists across generations, who reflected on Parc de La Villette’s enduring relevance.

On Thursday, February 1st, 2024, Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation celebrated the 40th anniversary of the seminal Parc de La Villette in Paris, as designed by Bernard Tschumi from 1982 until its completion in 1997. Fall 2023 marked 40 years since the project was announced as the winner of an international design competition featuring over 470 selected entries.

As one of the major architectural projects of the second half of the twentieth century, the park continues to inform generations of architecture students, artists, and architects. Through the many drawings of the project that challenge conventional representations of architecture, but also, more importantly, as the built manifestation of a theory that understands architecture foremost as being shaped by political forces, unintentionality, and transgression that happen in and around built objects. And, of course, through Tschumi’s notion of the Event.

In the spirit of such an event, the anniversary of the project was celebrated in GSAPP’s Wood Auditorium with “critical toasts” by a number of architects, theorists, and designers. Spread around the auditorium in a grid defined by red cube-shaped cakes, speakers including GSAPP Dean Andrés Jaque, Rachaporn Choochuey (all(zone)), Steven Holl (Steven Holl Architects), Jing Liu (SO – IL), and Mark Wigley critically reflected on La Villette’s ongoing significance, to which Bernard Tschumi offered a response. Additional participants included Michael Bell (Bell-Seong Architecture), Mario Gooden (Mario Gooden Studio), Jerome Haferd (Brandt:Haferd), Laurie Hawkinson (Smith-Miller+Hawkinson), Mimi Hoang (nARCHITECTS), Wonne Ickx (PRODUCTORA), Jimenez Lai (Bureau Spectacular), Reinhold Martin, Bart-Jan Polman, and Galia Solomonoff (SAS).

Introducing the event, Columbia GSAPP Dean Andrés Jaque said:

“Parc de la Villette changed architecture and societies. It showed that architecture does politics. This event highlights how Bernard Tschumi’s legacy as a designer and theorist remains as relevant as it was forty years ago. His seminars and studios keep reinventing what architecture can be and do; and his legacy as the Dean of GSAPP from 1988 until 2003, has shaped our understanding of how architecture emerges from transgression.”

In his response, Tschumi explained:

“Parc de La Villette came out of a frustration of not knowing what the architecture of architecture was. It felt that the impossible was possible. The city is really something that one has to turn into a generator. A generator of culture, a generator of invention.”

Situated at the site of the former slaughterhouses in Paris’ 19th arrondissement, Parc de la Villette was meant to be an “urban park for the 21st century” with a complex program of cultural and entertainment facilities. The park now welcomes around eight million visitors a year.

The event was curated by Bart-Jan Polman, GSAPP Director of Exhibitions and Public Programs and curator of the Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery, with a production team that included Lucy Krebsbach, Ilana Curtis, Clarisse Figueiredo de Queiroz, Callum McGregor Gauthier, Erisa Nakamura, and Cemre Tokat.

Music during the event was provided by Francisco Morales. Cakes by Silver Moon Bakery.

Photographs by Hatnim Lee.