Located Paris 1st district, Les Halles – originally a food-market designed in the 19th century by French architect Victor Baltard – were first demolished in 1974.
A few years later, when Jacques Chirac, then Mayor of Paris, selected Louis Arretche and APUR’s Halles Forum project, his choice did not spark enthusiasm among architects. The Architects Trade Union then launched its own call for counter-proposals. The jury, including late AA’s Editor-in-chief Marc Emery, received more than 600 proposals from all over the world. In April 1980, AA published a selection of sketches: some projects were realistic, others seemed close to utopia.
36 years later, as Patrick Berger and Jacques Anziutti’s new Halles project is revealed – with its own share of criticism and a controversial canopy – AA re-publishes some of the projects that could have shaped the heart of Paris.