Julien Beller in Conversation: Atypical Architectures and Urban Belonging

Lecture | November 14 | 12-1:30 p.m. |  Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

 Julien Beller

 Arts + Design

Julien Beller, architect

Architect Julien Beller illuminates his atypical approach to urban design: calling into question how a city is built, he works towards building a just city, constructed with pleasure, where everyone has a place. His projects focus on autonomous zones (cultural spaces, work spaces, classrooms) and on housing and habitat for the city’s most precarious inhabitants (toilets in slums, adaptable housing). Among many other projects, in 2017 Beller and his team designed and built a welcome center for migrants in Paris’s Porte de La Chapelle, which lodged more than 250,000 people in its first year alone.

As a member of the EXYZT collective starting in 2003, he built ephemeral and festive structures by appropriating abandoned spaces in different European cities. With AoA, which he cofounded in 2006, he worked in Africa on projects of exchanges of architectural knowledge between the north and the south. In 2006 he also cofounded of No Mad’s Land, which carried out projects with the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis’s most neglected populations, particularly Roma families. He calls these projects “urban acupuncture.” Founder in 2010 of 6B, Beller runs this 7000m2 space for creation and diffusion with 203 residents, located in an old office building in Saint Denis. A place for work, meetings, and experimentation, 6B questions existing notions of public space and models for cultural spaces. The diversity of activities presented by 6B aim to activate and pose questions about a rapidly changing neighborhood. In 2017, in addition to working on a participatory housing project (a building with 27 wooden lodgings), alternative public facilities (an old pool transformed into a shared work space), and public spaces (redevelopment of the Place de las Bastille), Beller and his team designed and built the Dispositif de Premier Accueil (Welcome Facility) in Paris’s Porte de La Chapelle. This “flash” project, conceived of and built in three months Emmaus Solidarité and the city of Paris, welcomes, orients, and lodges 450 migrants for an average of eight days. In its first year the DPA lodged more than 250,000 people.

From the development of strategies to in situ production, Julien Beller adopts an alternative forward-looking approach in order to give architecture back its federating power and to place inhabitants at the heart of urban construction

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