New policy paves way for first inner city tower since 1977
A historic shift in the French capital’s strict planning rules this summer has opened the way for the first of a series of dramatic new towers. For over thirty years Paris has laid low in the building stakes with a ban on buildings over 37 m in height brought in under Jacques Chirac’s rule when he was Mayor of Paris in 1977. But on Thursday the first tower to be built in the French capital’s inner city, following the lifting of the ban in July, was revealed.
Officials in Paris voted to lift a ban on high rise buildings in the French capital in a bid to combat the city’s housing shortage and invigorate the city’s economic status. This decision has left the path clear for 20 high-rise designs, first flaunted by the current Mayor Bertrand Delanoe in November last year and following the inauguration of President Sarkozy, to be approved.
The first of these designs to be approved is Herzog & de Meuron’s Le Projet Triangle which will stand at Porte de Versailles in Southern Paris. The design was showcased by Deputy Mayor, Anne Hidalgo yesterday who said in her blog: “Paris is indeed now part of the first world capitals in tourism business, trade fairs and exhibitions. Since 2001, the City of Paris has always radiated at the heart of its priorities economic development, employment and innovation. In a context of European and global competition increased, this ambition must now be translated in concrete by reinforcing its economic attractiveness.”
The design features a pyramidal block structure which will rise to 200 m and Hidalgo hopes that this design will “provide the city of Paris a true symbol commensurate with its economic vitality”. Others may be less excited about the prospect of a tower in the heart of the city however with 62% of the Parisian population opposed to high rises in the city. While Paris holds three regions for tall buildings on the outskirts, including La Defense to the West, the Triangle will be the third tallest structure in the inner city after the Eiffel Tower and Tour Montparnasse in the Montparnasse region.
Herzog & de Meuron, however, have no doubt about the ability for the Triangle to integrate into the Parisian landscape. They explained how this would be the case:
"The Triangle is conceived as a piece of the city that could be pivoted and positioned vertically. It is carved by a network of vertical and horizontal traffic flows of variable capacities and speeds. Like the boulevards, streets and more intimate passages of a city, these traffic flows carve the construction into islets of varying shapes and sizes.
"This evocation of the urban fabric of Paris, at once classic and coherent in its entirety and varied and intriguing in its details, is encountered in the façade of the Triangle. Like that of a classical building, this one features two levels of interpretation: an easily recognisable overall form and a fine, crystalline silhouette of its façade which allows it to be perceived variously."
They claim the building will restore the historical axis formed by the rue de Vaugirard and avenue Ernest Renan where the structure will stand. Due for completion in 2014 the tower will contain offices, a conference centre and a 400 bedroom hotel.
Niki May Young