elizabeth de portzamparc wins le bourget railway station competition
all images courtesy of elizabeth de portazmparc




following the international competition of contemporary architecture that has gathered great names such as norman foster and UNStudio, elizabeth de portzamparc has been chosen to realize the ‘le bourget railway station’. the site is one of the four most iconic terminals of ‘grand paris’ among villejuif, noisy-champs, and clichy-montfermeil.

elizabeth de portzamparc le bourget railway station grand paris express network france
interior view with the louvers shining light onto the underground platforms




the key principle of the project relies on four major issues. the first, deals with urban and regional problems. the facility will become the entry point for the city. attached to the grand paris express (GPE), the future regional urban center, in junction with the international airport hub, will be fully integrated to the existing network. it will be a strategic location for the articulation of the three communes: le bourget, drancy, and la courneuve.


the second dilemma arises in relation to mobility. here, various means of transport will be linked at different measures: local, regional, national, and international. it will help to develop a more efficient system while achieving economies of scale through the concentration of resources and effective interconnections.

elizabeth de portzamparc le bourget railway station grand paris express network france
voids in the floor plates let visitors and travelers view multiple parts of the station at once




concerns over visibility have also been deliberated. used as a strong architectural statement, the ‘totem’ increases views of the station despite a landlocked site, and becomes the symbolic and landmark identity of the parisian metropolis. the equipment’s accessibility is designed to be intuitive and efficient. it will be dealt with two courts on two levels and its animation will provide new local urban forums to the residents and offer a true quality of life.


the last group of issues tackles usage and flexibility. the underground platforms are crafted in relation to the principle of ‘total flex’, where the interior structures are adjustable and allow the venue of future programming (small businesses at the docks level, connection with other modes of transport, extension of the railway network such as the metro line 7, etc.).

elizabeth de portzamparc le bourget railway station grand paris express network france
the transportation hub is defined by an extensive use of wood and warm colors




the construction materials and presence of nature let the station become a combination of user-friendly and sensorial effects. the concept of the great english court avoiding the feeling of ‘basement effect’ enables natural light to shine down upon the various levels. prolonging the theory of elizabeth de portzamparc on the surrounding community, already expressed in her tramway station project in bordeaux, this work and its equipment cannot be reduced to its technical or functional versatility, but should be apprehended as a project that fully carries the culture of the city without neglecting the human scale.



project info:


status: competition – winning project
program: conception and construction of the railway station, sans les infrastructures
surface : 6,800 sqm
client: SGP (société du grand paris)
architect: elizabeth de portzamparc



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.