28 Dec 2015

How to prioritize focus by identifying the limits of what you can and cannot do or influence

Project: Melun Senart, Ville Nouvell

Location: Melun, France

Year: 1987

Size: 5000 hectares

Team: Rem Koolhaas, Yves Brunier, Xaveer de Geyter, Mike Guyer, Luc Reuse

Initiators: City of Lille (Pierre Mauroy, Mayor); SAEM Euralille (Jean-Paul Baietto, General Manager); Association Lille Grand Palais (Jean Delannoy, Vice-President)

The site of Melun Senart, the last of the Villes Nouvelles that encircle Paris, is too beautiful to imagine a new city there with innocence and impunity. The vastness of the landscape, the beauty of the forests and the calm of the farms form a daunting presence, hostile to any notion of development.

Rem Koolhaas


Melun Senar is an urban planning project for a new suburb south of Paris. The project was organised as a contest which OMA won in 1987.

Type: Masterplan

Program: residential neighbourhoods, industrial parks, infrastructure for educational, recreational and cultural development. Preservation of existing farmland and roads

Source: OMA

The scarcity in this project is merely the approach to urban planning, than the inventory of the project itself. Instead of trying to control the whole process of developing a new urban environment, OMA chose to identify a set of specific qualities and made a plan of how to preserve them. It may be mentioned that the qualities to be preserved in the plan, are not the ones you would call luxury, but rather basic needs such as infrastructure, recreational facilities or landscape. What to happen in between these islands of voids, OMA left to the different developers to decide. The whole project was very much an acknowledgement of the limits of success of the traditional masterplan trying to grasp every aspect of a building process.



OMA's masterplan

OMA’s masterplan


Melun Senart 2011

Melun Senart 2011