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Justinien Tribillon

Research Subject
 

Gleaming and dirty: The Boulevard Périphérique of Paris, social construct at the crossroad of technics, aesthetics and politics.

Primary supervisor: Dr Claire Colomb
Secondary supervisor: Dr Ben Campkin
Starting date: September 2016
Projected completion date: September 2022
 

On 1 January 2016 a new metropolitan government for Paris was created. This new political institution is one of the outcomes of an institutional change starting almost ten years before, and that has seen the idea of a ‘Greater Paris’ return to the forefront of local and national politics. This impetus led to a wealth of architectural competitions, academic colloquia and institutional initiatives that sought to imagine and design the Grand Paris. Yet it led to only a timid attempt at reconsidering the relationship between Paris and its banlieue. After almost a decade, the only tangible results of the Greater Paris bonanza are a toothless new metropolitan government and an ambitious public transport scheme.

Yet right on the edge of Paris proper an infrastructure continues to embody the divide between Paris and its suburbs: the Boulevard Périphérique. Completed in 1973, the ring road has come to symbolise the frontier between the ‘Grande Cité’, and in the words of Baron Haussmann, its ‘adornment.’ While the vision of the périphérique as a frontier is now so commonplace it has become a cliché, in academic and non-academic discourse the role of this infrastructure in the spatial, social, and architectural genesis of this divide has barely been explored critically.

With a theoretical framework grounded in sociology as well as design history (architecture and engineering), this doctoral research aims at understanding the relationships between the socio-professional groups which led on designing, building, and then retrofitting the Boulevard Périphérique, namely technicians (or ‘technocrats’), architects and politicians. By studying administrative correspondence, blueprints, municipal records, press clips and for the most recent years, by conducting interviews with key actors of this process, this research will analyse the ‘social imagination’  invested in this infrastructure whilst analysing the discourse of these socio-professional groups of urbanists. By comparing the design and building of the Boulevard Périphérique in the Trente Glorieuses and its retrofitting from the late 1980s onwards, this research will specifically compare how the role and discourse of technicians, architects and politics has changed in the delivering and management of large transport infrastructure in the Paris région.

Ultimately, this research aims at challenging the established narrative of the Boulevard Périphérique, feat of modernism and the Trente Glorieuses, a technical object built seamlessly with no opposition, that now acts as boundary between Paris proper and suburbs because of its history and sheer physicality.

About Justinien

Urbanist, writer, editor and curator, Justinien Tribillon works across different media and disciplines: social science, photography, architecture, history. Justinien is a tutor and PhD candidate at The Bartlett School of Planning, University College London, where he explores the Boulevard Périphérique of Paris as sociotechnical artefact. Justinien is co-founder and editor of Migrant Journal, a six-issue publication exploring migration in all its forms. As a curator he is presenting “Welcome to Borderland” on the migration of plants at the Venice Biennale of Architecture 2021. Together with Offshore Studio (Isabel Seiffert and Christoph Miler) he has also curated “Infrastructure — Visible Upon Breakdown”, an exploration of the concept of infrastructure mixing social sciences and photography due to open at the Rencontres de la Photographie d’Arles 2021. This latter exhibition has been cancelled due to Covid-19 but will be reimagined in another format, and/or in another venue in 2022.

Publications and other work

Journal articles

  • Tribillon, Justinien. 2014. ‘The Localism Act in London: Institutionalising Urban Divisions’. Metropolitics.
  • Tribillon, Justinien. 2021. ‘Inventing “Infrastructure”: Tracing the Etymological Blueprint of an Omnipresent Sociotechnical Metaphor’.
  • Tribillon, Justinien, and John Bingham-Hall. 2020. ‘L’essor des « infrastructures culturelles » urbaines : ou quand la « culture » devient un investissement comme un autre’. Journal des Anthropologues (162–163).

Essays

  • Tribillon, Justinien. 2016a. ‘Massey Harris: Mechanical or Trojan Horse’. Pp. 54–61 in Migrant Journal No. 1 ‘Across Country’, edited by J. Tribillon and C. de Almeida Brito. London: Migrant Journal Press.
  • Tribillon, Justinien. 2016b. ‘Rocking the Austerity Boat: How Millenials Need to Rethink Tomorrow Cities’ Economies’. in Making cities. Visions for an urban future, edited by Eurocities. Bruxelles: Eurocities.
  • Tribillon, Justinien. 2016c. ‘The Fridge, the City and the Critique of Everyday Life: A Tale of Domestic Urbanism’. MONU, April, 18–21.
  • Tribillon, Justinien. 2017a. ‘The Panic of 1873’. Pp. 114–19 in Migrant Journal No. 2 ‘Wired Capital’, edited by J. Tribillon and C. de Almeida Brito. London: Migrant Journal Press.
  • Tribillon, Justinien. 2017b. ‘Wonders and Enigmas of the Migrating Coconut’. Pp. 38–45 in Migrant Journal No. 3 ‘Flowing Grounds’, edited by J. Tribillon, M. Büsse, and D. Randulfe. London: Migrant Journal Press.
  • Tribillon, Justinien. 2018a. ‘413 Grammes’. Broken Nature, XXII Triennale Milano 2019, November 7.
  • Tribillon, Justinien. 2018b. ‘Cuando Los Imperios Se Derruban’. Pp. 25–33 in Sobre la Línea: la frontera vertical distribuida, edited by T. Tovar Torres, J. C. Espinosa Cuock, and P. Ceñal Murga. Mexico DF: Proyector.
  • Tribillon, Justinien. 2018c. ‘Cuando los imperios se derrumban’. Arquine, November 15.
  • Tribillon, Justinien. 2018d. ‘Grand Ensemble’. Failed States, May, 132–33.
  • Tribillon, Justinien. 2018e. ‘When the Empires Collapse’. Pp. 25–33 in Sobre la Línea: la frontera vertical distribuida, edited by T. Tovar Torres, J. C. Espinosa Cuock, and P. Ceñal Murga. Mexico DF: Proyector.
  • Tribillon, Justinien. 2019a. ‘413 Grammes’. in Design. De la nature à l’environnement. Nouvelles Définitions., edited by C. Geel and E. Hale. Paris: T&P Work Unit.
  • Tribillon, Justinien. 2019b. ‘London Is the Place for Me’. Pp. 58–109 in A City of Comings and Goings, edited by Crimson. Rotterdam: nai010.
  • Tribillon, Justinien. 2020. ‘Tourist Trap’. The Architectural Review, May, 6–15.

Journalism

  • Tribillon, Justinien. 2015a. ‘Dirty Boulevard: Why Paris’s Ring Road Is a Major Block on the City’s Grand Plans’. The Guardian, June 26.
  • Tribillon, Justinien. 2015b. ‘Why Is a Paris Suburb Scrapping an Urban Farm to Build a Car Park?’ The Guardian, September 11.
  • Tribillon, Justinien. 2016a. ‘How Nature Turned a Failed Communist Plan into Bucharest’s Unique Urban Park’. The Guardian, June 14.
  • Tribillon, Justinien. 2016b. ‘Paris’s River Revolution: The Supermarket That Delivers Groceries via the Seine’. The Guardian, March 1.
  • Tribillon, Justinien. 2017a. ‘New Life in the Kingdom of Death: The Plan to Redevelop Subterranean Paris’. The Guardian, February 6.
  • Tribillon, Justinien. 2017b. ‘Plongée dans les sous-sols endormis de Paris’. Courrier international, March 3.
  • Tribillon, Justinien. 2017c. ‘העתיד של עיר האורות נמצא מתחת לאדמה’. Haaretz, February 7.
  • Tribillon, Justinien. 2018. ‘A Walking Cure for Sarcellitis: Can Trails Unite Paris’s City and Suburbs?’ The Guardian, January 25.
  • Tribillon, Justinien. 2019. ‘A Mirage of Luxury Built on Sand’. Magnum Photos. Retrieved 1 March 2019 (https://www.magnumphotos.com/newsroom/environment/sim-chi-yin-a-mirage-of-luxury-built-on-sand/).
  • Tribillon, Justinien. 2020. ‘The Value of Culture in Austerity Britain’. Theatrum Mundi.
  • Tribillon, Justinien, Isabel Seiffert, and Christoph Miler. 2018. ‘Subatomic Diplomacy’. Pp. 22–39 in Migrant Journal No. 5 ‘Micro Odysseys’, edited by J. Tribillon, M. Büsse, and D. Randulfe. London: Migrant Journal Press.

Edited volumes

  • Tribillon, Justinien, and Catarina de Almeida Brito, eds. 2016. Across Country. Vol. 1. London: Migrant Journal Press.
  • Tribillon, Justinien, and Catarina de Almeida Brito, eds. 2017. Wired Capital. Vol. 2. London: Migrant Journal Press.
  • Tribillon, Justinien, Michaela Büsse, and Dámaso Randulfe, eds. 2017. Flowing Grounds. Vol. 3. London: Migrant Journal Press.
  • Tribillon, Justinien, ed. 2018. Dark Matters. Vol. 4. London: Migrant Journal Press.
  • Tribillon, Justinien, Michaela Büsse, and Dámaso Randulfe, eds. 2018. Micro Odysseys. Vol. 5. London: Migrant Journal Press.
  • Tribillon, Justinien, Michaela Büsse, and Dámaso Randulfe, eds. 2019. Foreign Agents. Vol. 6. London: Migrant Journal Press.
  • Michalowska, Marta, and Justinien Tribillon, eds. 2021. Concrete & Ink: Storytelling and the Future of Architecture. Rotterdam: nai010.

Conference papers

  • Tribillon, Justinien. 2017. ‘Producing the Banlieue: Rethinking Infrastructural Landscape and Paris’s Metropolitan Identity via the Périphérique’. in Séminaire de la Chaire Villes Globales. Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme.
  • Tribillon, Justinien. 2018a.‘Paris’s Concrete Belt: Rampart or Connector?’, June 21, Future of London Annual Conference.
  • Tribillon, Justinien. 2018b. ‘Producing the Parisian Banlieue’. Royal College of Arts.
  • Tribillon, Justinien. 2019a.‘Producing the Paris Banlieue’, March 27, Columbia University.
  • Tribillon, Justinien. 2019b. ‘The Infrastructural Landscape of Paris: Dissecting the Metaphors to Develop New Methodologies’. in (Infra)structuring ideology: discourse and visuality - G1. Manchester Urban Institute, Manchester University.
  • Tribillon, Justinien. 2019c. ‘The Words of “Infrastructure”: The Journey of a Concept That Came to Define Modernity’. University College London.
  • Tribillon, Justinien. 2020a. ‘Imagining, Designing and Building Paris’s Boulevard Périphérique: Understanding the Périph’s Role in the “Production of the Banlieue” and Paris’s Infrastructural Landscape (1943-1973; 2007-Today)’. University College London.
  • Tribillon, Justinien. 2020b. ‘Larger than Life: Landscape-Infrastructure as Critical Design Framework for Post-War Paris’. Urban Institute, University of Sheffield.

Teaching

Academic Year 2016-2017

  • PGTA, BENVGPD5 City Planning (UCL, BSP)
  • PGTA, BENVGPL6 Comparative Planning Systems and Cultures (UCL, BSP)
  • PGTA, BENVGTC4 Urban Design: Guidance, Incentive and Control (UCL, BSP)
  • PGTA, ENVS1016 Contemporary Cities (UCL, BSP)

Academic Year 2017-2018

  • PGTA, BENVGPD5 City Planning (UCL, BSP)
  • PGTA, BENVGPL6 Comparative Planning Systems and Cultures (UCL, BSP)
  • PGTA, BENVGTC4 Urban Design: Guidance, Incentive and Control (UCL, BSP)
  • PGTA, ENVS1016 Contemporary Cities (UCL, BSP)
  • PGTA, ENVS2008 Cities and Social Change (UCL, BSP)

Academic Year 2018-2019

  • PGTA, BPLN0038 Comparative Planning Systems and Cultures (UCL, BSP)
  • PGTA, BPLN0013 Planning Practices in Europe
  • PGTA, BPLN0071 Contemporary Cities (UCL, BSP)
  • Studio Tutor, M ARCH: Architecture (Central Saint Martins, UAL)

Academic Year 2019-2020

  • PGTA, BPLN0038 Comparative Planning Systems and Cultures (UCL, BSP)
  • PGTA, BPLN0071 Contemporary Cities (UCL, BSP)

Academic Year 2020-2021

  • PGTA, BPLN0038 Comparative Planning Systems and Cultures (UCL, BSP)
  • PGTA, BPLN0071 Contemporary Cities (UCL, BSP)