In a campaign pledge last week that resembles a high school candidate’s promise to give out free pop during lunchtime, Paris mayoral candidate Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, of the center-right UMP party, floated the idea of reworking the abandoned “ghost stations” on the Paris metro. Photos released by her campaign, created by architects Manal Rachdi and Nicolas Laisné, show unused stops reimagined as public hotspots boasting amenities such as a swimming pool, theatre and concert hall, nightclub, art gallery and restaurant. While the move hasn’t made waves with the voting public, we love the idea. Here’s a selection of other plans, proposals and projects that reconceptualize what can be done underground.
Arsenal Subway Stop -- Paris
Here’s Manal Rachdi and Nicolas Laisné proposal to turn the underground station at Arsenal, near Versailles, into a garden. Candidate Kosciusko-Morizet told Elle France that she normally takes lines 8 and 13 and often finds “moments of grace” on the subway. Photo courtesy Laisné Architecte.
Arsenal Subway Stop -- Paris
Here’s another proposal from the same architects to transform the same space into a restaurant. Photo courtesy Laisné Architecte.
The Low Line -- New York
Pitched in the wake of the High Line’s incredible success, the Low Line calls for turning an unused station at Delancey into a subterranean park, lit by natural sunlight “pumped in” via fiberoptic cables and mirrors. Currently, project leaders including architect James Ramsey of RAAD Studios and Dan Barasch, are working on gaining access to the site, after a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2012 that raised over $150.000. Photo courtesy RAAD Studio.
Brompton Road Station -- London
Entrepreneur Ajit Chambers told the BBC in 2012 that he wanted to purchase the Brompton Road station in London and create a “tourist attraction,” which would include a rooftop restaurant and turn the chambers leading underground into climbing walls. He’s already created a company for the venture -- The Old London Underground Company -- and supposedly, plans are in the works to open the station for events in 2014. Photo courtesy Annie Mole, Creative Commons.
Underbelly Project -- New York
In 2010, street artists Workhorse and PAC illegally staged a massive exhibit of art in a secret, abandoned station, featuring work by more than 100 contributors. Photo courtesy vandalog, Creative Commons.
Musical Subways -- New York
Last year, LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy proposed turning the subway into a musical instrument of sorts, where turnstiles would create different notes. "There would be a thing that would make a beep of a certain note," he told The Verge, adding that it would generate a random note based on a percentage to "hopefully make a really beautiful piece of music." So far, it hasn’t come to fruition. New York I love you, but you’re bringing me down. Photo courtesy mecredis, Creative Commons.
Dupont Underground -- Washington, D.C.
Where others see an abandoned trolley station below Dupont Circle, architect Julian Hunt see art, specifically, art galleries. His proposed Dupont Underground project would turn this slightly dank cavern and former transport hub into a centerpiece of the Capital cultural scene, featuring avant-garde visual art and architecture. Photo courtesy stereogab, Creative Commons.