KPF celebrates the transformation of the tallest commercial building in France
2011 is fast shaping up to be the year of the tall towers, as it seems almost every week we receive a new project which claims to be the highest-hovering structure in this city or that country, or updates on well-publicised structures reaching even dizzier heights.
From Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill’s new Wuhan Greenland Center (606m and tipped to be the fourth tallest building in the world) to Solus4’s proposal for a Sustainable Vertical Neighborhood in New York (950ft) and TFP Farrells’ concept for the Z15 Tower (more than half a kilometre high and designed as the tallest building in Beijing), we have been inundated with far-reaching concept designs each bigger and better than the last.
Whilst the conflict of the concepts continues, we’re also keeping an eye on the rapidly increasing construction of Nikken Sekkei’s Tokyo Sky Tree (having passed the 600m mark it is now well on the way to being the world’s second tallest building) and TFP Farrells’ Kinkey Financial Tower in Shenzhen (441m).
It must be noted that a large proportion of these spiralling schemes come from the more affluent countries in the world, who favour bold architectural statements as a symbol of growth and economic development. Very rarely does a French project stake a claim in the circle of tall buildings, however global design firm Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF) has just celebrated the reopening of Tour FIRST – the highest building in Paris and the tallest office building in France and 231m.
The scheme has transformed a towering commercial building by Pierre Dufau into a glistening beacon in the La Défense district, its distinct form standing prominently on the Parisian skyline. For KPF this is an opportunity to showcase the firm’s dedication to the idea of refurbishment as a sustainable approach.
Speaking at the inauguration earlier this month, KPF Chairman A. Eugene Kohn elaborated: “This building is really ahead of its time in that it was re-skinned to make, essentially, a new building, and isn’t simply a new addition to the Paris skyline. We enjoyed a wonderful collaboration with all parties involved. Great buildings are a result of great teamwork.”
In their transformative project, KPF dramatically altered the tower’s silhouette to provide added character to an already impressive form, and inserted numerous openings to flood the interior spaces with much-needed natural light. The scheme takes the original concept of three wings wrapped around a central core into consideration, and tastefully modernises it to improve environmental performance and internal circulation.