The metropolitan landscape factory

The metropolitan landscape factory

This study, which began in 2011, deals with the readout and ways of displaying the overall landscape of the Parisian metropolis.

While the fact of metropolitanization is apparent in all its social, urban and political dimensions, the “metropolitan landscape” is built up in a haphazard way from one project to the next.
Although Paris has benefited from a few studies and has certain guidelines to follow, the last attempts at urban composition on the scale of this very large territory date back to 1976 (SDAURIF) and we all know the Cergy-Pontoise Axe Majeur.
The Ateliers Cergy Workshops, which take place from 25th August to 28th September 2012,  wanted to celebrate their 30th anniversary with this theme as the subject of their 2012 session entitled: Visualising the city  -  Revealing and Staging the Metropolitan Landscape – Landscape acts upon Grand Paris.
At the same time Apur who had already developed a number of tools for reading the landscape,  notably measuring the impact of the Triangle Tower and the Departmental Law Court  -TGI- projects, were asked by Ateliers Cergy to contribute to their work sessions.
This study, which has benefited from Bertrand Warnier's expertise, has set up  the first  frameworks for constructing a metropolis.
The process was organised in two phases. The first aimed to identify the fundamental elements of the overall landscape and to set up the map making tools to permit awareness of its structure and to identify the focal points for building metropolitan landscapes.
The second phase involved experimenting with the ways of displaying the landscape based on road systems, railway lines and water-ways (canals). The aim was to better understand the elements which contribute to a clear legibility of the overall landscape and those which compete with or go against its character and identity. This work of gathering information should help towards producing tools for visualising and managing the impact of projects upon the metropolitan landscape.



  • Topography and horizon lines
  • Tools for examining the impact of tower-block projects
  • Infrastructures and principal network features
  • Landmarks and viewpoints
  • Urban fabrics and vegetation
To be consulted
  • On the A3 going from Paris towards the A86 through Bagnolet and Montreuil
  • On the A3 going from Paris towards the A86, looking from the heights of Montreuil towards Noisy-le-Sec
  • On the A86, going through Bondy, Noisy-le-Sec and Rosny-sous-Bois
  • On the Boulevard Périphérique
  • On the A3, going from the A3/A86 motorway intersection towards Paris
  • Examples of fortified castles
  • Topography and relief
  • Gradient of streets
  • Network of road, rail and water-way infrastructures
  • Main roads
  • Structure of vegetation
  • Structure of buildings
  • Morphology of buildings


Documents to download

  • The metropolitan landscape factory

    Format : pdf, 51.39 MB