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During the academic year, the Paris School of Architecture organises open international architectural competitions as part of our current research theme.  Our competitions are designed to encourage thought and debate and are open to all.


(Porte Saint Denis)

What is the role of the Monument in 2020?

As part of our research themes for 2019/2020 the school has launched an international architecture competition entitled ‘Future Monuments'.


Porte Saint-Denis is located at the border of Paris 2nd and 10th arrondissements, at the crossing of boulevard Saint Denis and rue du faubourg Saint Denis. The gate is an historical icon located on the former boundary between the city of Paris and its hinterland. Built in the XVII century during the reign of Louis XIV, the gate was conceived to control and tax the incoming goods from the area surround Paris as well forming a critical part of the defensive architecture of the French capital.

The gate’s architecture was designed to symbolise and glorify the victories of the French Armies, in addition to its mercantile functions. The gate additionally functioned as a form of control on the flows of people into and out of Paris.

The area of the Porte Saint Denis happens to be an unconscious marker of Paris various nearby cultural districts such as Faubourg Saint Denis (nightlife), Saint Martin (théâtres), Grands Boulevards (tourists and / or flâneurs), passage Brady (Little India), North Marais (trendy and expensive), Silicon Sentier (self-promoted start-up area of Paris)... A mix of new unofficialactivities and gentrifying real estate are occurring in the same neighborhood, creating an fascinating mix of usages and new city life. The Porte Saint Denis project can be in this aspect of the project the vehicle of a more urban / behavioral study of this area of Paris, questioning the role and the position of the gate itself and the ‘place’ surrounding it. The brief is to invent a usage / architecture / urban activator that places emphasis on an existing activity picked from the site. This aspect of the project should provide (the beginning of) an answer to the question of the potential for a new or revised ‘social contact’ in our times of hostility and uncertainty, a conversion that architects, artists, designers or associated disciplines must interrogate and respond to.

The jury will be seeking new ideas, programmes, and concepts for the area that respond to one or both aspects of the brief, as well as judging the quality of the architectural and visual proposal, the principal aim being to question the meaning of a monument nowadays and its function, interaction and responsibility towards its neighbours / users / visitors.

The competition brief is straightforward; to design a monument, architectural structure, piece of public art or new programme that discusses the themes described in this specificurban territory and question the function of a monument in 2020. Responses could imagine what the old idea of a ‘gate’ or ‘border’ could provide today.

The competition submissions will be judged by a jury composed of staff at the Paris School of Architecture and external visiting critics invited for this specific competition.


The results will be published on the school webpage and will be part of a specific online publication that includes interviews of the winning entries, as well as a show curated by the graphic and communication team of the school.


The shortlisted entries will be exhibited in Paris during the winter (date to be announced) and will be open to members of the public.


The winning entry will receive an honorarium of €500 which may be used towards their travel and accommodation during their stay in Paris for the exhibition.


The ‘Future Monuments’ competition is an open architectural and urban competition that questions the site in terms of usages, programs, forms, symbolic and narrative. Architects, students of architecture or associated disciplines, designers and artists may enter.

The competition jury took place on Monday 2nd December, and 5 projects have been shortlisted.

The shortlisted entries will be exhibited at the end of February in central Paris.  Further details will be published in January 2020.

The winning entry has also been selected, and this will be announced in the new year.