Political Ecologies OF a Construction Site

The retrofit of a showroom in Paris was an occasion to expose the power relationships in a construction site. The actors involved included human (the bureau de control, the direction of works, the contractor, subcontractors, facility managers, immigrant workers, designers, A/E engineering companies, suppliers, fire safety consultants, neighbors, etc.) and non-human (stone, water, dust, marmorino, etc.) agents.

In an ex-post evaluation of the works, I raise issues about who builds our architectures, the inequalities engendered in the construction site, and the complex systems of power at the intersection of people, materials, and regulations (contracts, Gantt schedules, building codes, and security and safety codes).

In 2011, Romania had just entered the European Union, bringing workforce from the peripheral to Europe’s central countries. Having witnessed extreme labor inequalities in Dubai (2009), I provided informal advocacy to Romanian immigrant workers in the construction site. As sub-contractors, their working conditions (salaries, working hours, health issues) were harsh.

Client: Fortebís Group
Final Client: Italian Fashion Company
Local Architect: Pierre Marceau
Direction of Works: Steven Shelledy
Mechanical Engineering: Cavazzoni Associati
Bureau de Control: Qualiconsult
R.U.S Site Vendôme: Yann Lecointre
Security: Guy Chapoutot
Lighting: Balestreri Lighting
Finishing: Zampieri