disaster site for the “Nobel School” in Paris

Serial delays, additional costs, “Gaps”, “heightened mistrust”, “tensions”, “disorder” … Anne Hidalgo, the socialist mayor of Paris, was not disappointed by the audit report she recently received on the modernization of the prestigious School of Industrial Physics and Chemistry, the “Nobel School” », In the 5e borough. In this site where Pierre and Marie Curie, Irène and Frédéric Joliot-Curie, Pierre-Gilles de Gennes and Georges Charpak worked, the demolition and then the total reconstruction of the buildings, decided by the City of Paris, turned into disaster. To the point that the City, owner of the premises, no longer excludes changing architects, an exceptional measure in the midst of the construction site.

In March, before arbitrating on what to do next, the mayor of Paris asked to see clearly about this major project which got out of hand. It was about understanding how this investment, valued at 176 million euros in 2015 and managed by the City Council, had seen its estimated bill soar by nearly 40 million. The objective was also to specify the possible scenarios to limit the breakage and avoid an even greater slippage.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also In Paris, Anne Hidalgo launches an audit on the site of the Nobel School

In this regard, the audit carried out by Jean-Pierre Weiss, a renowned expert and former director of heritage at the Ministry of Culture, does not seem encouraging. The additional cost of the site is now estimated at 50 million euros, or nearly 30%, and additional drifts are feared.

The architect’s “shortcomings”

How did we get here ? After announcing its intention to make it public, the Town Hall chose to keep Mr. Weiss’ report secret. The document, which was obtained The world, is not actually tender with any of the speakers.

For the most part, the surge in the budget is certainly due to the fact that the main tender was launched at the worst time, at a time when the construction market was overheating. Result: when opening the envelopes, City Hall officials noted “More than 45% overrun” compared to the goal. This calamitous calendar is however itself linked to the two to three years of delay taken beforehand, due to the complexity of the file but also to the hesitations of the various services of the Town hall, in particular on the need or not of a study of impact, slips a good connoisseur of the file.

Jean-Pierre Weiss, for his part, notes that the Town Hall has not always been exemplary in the management of this project. For example, by agreeing to pay the architect for studies allowing the budget to be reduced, when in such a case, “The project manager is required to perform them free of charge”.

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