Thursday, February 21, 2008

Metamorphosis in Paris

Plans for a vast glass office block that will become the tallest commercial building since the Eiffel tower are underway in Paris. Skyscrapers are banned in the historic centre of Paris with high-rise buildings confined to the La Defense district to the west of the centre. Once described as Paris’s “mini-Manhattan”, La Defense is one of Europe’s biggest purpose built business districts, created under Francois Mitterrand’s direction in 1989. Recently La Defense has begun planning a new generation of high-rises to compete with new urban business quarters in Moscow, Madrid and Amsterdam. Designed by Californian architect Thom Mayne of Morphosis fame, the “Phare” (lighthouse) tower is a gently sloping eco friendly glass construction complete with wind turbines on its roof. At a cost of 900m Euros (£610m) the building, which will offer 130,000 square metres of office space, is due to be completed in 2012.

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