Cultural Development Department

Architectural culture and urban culture are shaped daily by many actors in an ongoing conversation, full of interrogations, interactions and tensions, and enlightened by exchanges.
The Cultural Development Department, inaugurated in 2015, animates a multidisciplinary discussion about the city and architecture and more broadly about the evolution of the inhabited world.
The department invites theorists and actors involved in the transformation of our societies to take part in plural debates that look at architecture from a variety of vantage points: philosophical, anthropological, artistic and/or geopolitical, scientific and /or historical.

For architecture to find its rightful place as an integral component of general knowledge, it must be observed from the outside. For the public to discover readings of the city and its architecture, the inherent connections with all forms of modern art – cinema, photography and video – must be revealed.

La Cité hosts lively forums of thought and creation to forge relationships of production and exchange with architecture.

It works to contextualize architecture not only in its own history but in the history of our time, by evidencing the ways in which it evolves, espouses the issues of its century, transforms cities, gives shape to the aspirations of society and represents them aesthetically.

These programmes address all audiences: residents, citizens, creators, scholars, and the key players in the development of cities and in architecture.



The apparent proximity of the filmmaker and the architect is evident in films by Fritz Lang, Éric Rohmer, Amos Gitai, and many others, with the architect standing as an avatar, so to speak, of the director.

Films are the foremost vehicles of the imaginary of the city, be they thrillers, science-fiction or in the realist tradition, for through cinema we enter into the heart of the city, real or dreamed, past, present or future. So much so that the form of a city is now strongly tethered to the cinematic form.

The cinema programming has two main facets: the series of documentaries and feature films associated with La Cité’s exhibitions, and the series of screenings and discussions about the city, housing, architecture and the landscape, with the film followed by a conversation with invited speakers.



The hypothesis that the world has entered the Anthropocene era, when it is human activity that is the dominant influence on the biosphere, is everywhere being studied. Philosopher Bruno Latour conceives of this as a new concept: “with this unending expansion of the role of the human, humanism may be back, but we’d have to say that it has a peculiar look to it since it mixes morality and geology and conflates in the same term the so-called social and natural sciences.”

The Ecologies programming strives to activate exchanges between architecture and all the disciplines involved today in the study and management of “complex inhabited environments.” The goal is to survey and interrogate the complexities of contemporary ecosystems, by opening doors between architecture and various branches of science: social and experimental, geopolitics, world history, technologies, development economics, etc.


Global Award for Sustainable Architecture™

The Global Award for Sustainable Architecture™ was created in 2006 by architect and professor Jana Revedin, to support global discussion of architecture and the city in an era of far-reaching changes. The award has Cité de l’Architecture & du Patrimoine as its cultural partner, with the support of institutions and members of its scientific committee. Since 2010, the award is under the patronage of UNESCO.

The Global Award for Sustainable Architecture™ is given each year to five architects who share an ethics of sustainable development and have pioneered innovative approaches in the places where they work, in western and emerging countries, in developed cities and precarious districts, in megalopolises and in the countryside.

The purpose of the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture™ is to bring together architects of great current significance and promote exchanges of their knowledge and experiences. Since its founding, the award has been attributed to 55 architects, from great precursors to young rebels of the global architecture scene.



The city and its rhythms of life are again occupying the place in literature that they had in Georges Pérec’s books or in the 19th-century novels of Balzac, Zola or Proust, narrator of the decline of the Faubourg and of the bourgeois conquest of La Plaine Monceau.

In recent years, we’ve had Michel Houellebecq’s The Map and the Territory, Maylis de Kerangal’s Birth of a Bridge, Aurélien Bellanger’s Le Grand Paris, and Jean-Claude Izzo’s urban noir fiction.

The Literature programme schedules a quarterly gathering centred around a recent publication of a writer with deep ties to the city. The author invites guest speakers and selects pictures and films to elaborate on her perception of cities, landscapes and housing, and the way in which these elements enter into her writing, sometimes to the point of becoming the main subject of the book.



10, 20, 30 million inhabitants: these constantly growing numbers demonstrate migration to cities as one of the major facts of the century. Today, the equivalent of a city of one million inhabitants surfaces every week in western and emerging countries.

The Metropolises programme endeavours to observe and examine the transformations of our cities and the consequences on our societies: urban, suburban and digital changes, preservation and activation of heritages, new political and economic modes, new collective intelligence, regional and global circuits of mobility, etc. The city reveals these changes as much as it is defined by them.

Metropolises develops activities that further knowledge and exchanges between the public, decision-makers, researchers and professionals concerning the city as an inhabited environment, as a shared culture and as a theatre for cohabitation.



Photography is an essential medium, a privileged entry key, offering a diversity of gazes on the world of architecture and the city.

Its exponential presence on the art scene as on social networks prompts us to approach it in all its singularities. Referring as much to reality as to fiction, photography testifies to and questions the world we live in.

The Photography programme invites the public to compare and contrasts points of view in thought and images. It also calls on moving pictures in the form of videos and multimedia works.


Résidence critique

Every year Cité de l’Architecture extends a “critic(s) in residence” invitation to an individual or a team from another scholarly or artistic field, for the purpose of deepening exchanges between architecture and contemporary cultural activities.

The “critic(s) in residence” formulates a research or experimentation project that observes the city or inhabited space from the perspective of their specific field (social science, art, experimental sciences, history…). This project is embedded in La Cité’s programming: exhibitions or seminars, production of a work, educational or research workshops and so on. The aim is to foster interdisciplinary conversations between creators, researchers, architects and the general public.


Informations pratiques

Auditorium et Plateforme de la création architecturale
7 avenue Albert de Mun
Paris 16e
Métro Iéna ou Trocadéro