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Old November 27th, 2006, 05:51 PM   #481
eklips
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Wow, the enthousiasm in the article sounds like if it had been written by a ssc or pss forumer.
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Old November 28th, 2006, 02:06 AM   #482
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paris full sumary of projects by Le Monde newspaper

(in french)
big size
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Old November 28th, 2006, 02:44 AM   #483
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This the now famous Le Monde article, a rather dense and good quality article, translated by yours truly. I added notes [in brackets] to clarify points that non-Parisians could find obscure.

=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+
Towers rise back round central Paris
Le Monde, 27 November 2006


High-rise buildings are making a showy comeback in Paris, or rather, on the fringes of central Paris, despite their condemnation by the municipal majority lead by Bertrand Delanoë (Socialist Party) [the mayor of Paris]. On Friday November 24, an international jury selected the winner of an architect contest launched by developer Unibail for the construction of a new tower in La Défense (Hauts-de-Seine département).

This tower is not the umpteenth copy of what's already there. The selected project, that of American Thom Mayne, compares with the Eiffel Tower: it reaches a height of 300 meters. Furthermore, the building offers nearly 130,000 m² (1,4 million sq. ft) of floor space, i.e. nearly half the new objectives (300 000 m²/3,2 million sq. ft) set by La Défense Authority whose term of life was extended until 2010 and whose chairman is still Nicolas Sarkozy [Minister of the Interior, leader of the ruling right wing party, future French president, or so he hopes...].

Nicolas Sarkozy announced on July 25 a revival plan for La Défense. "Not only must we avoid losing ground, but we must also continue to lead the race in the face of projects like those of City Life in Milan, those of Moscow City, or other service business centers which are being developed rapidly in Barcelona, Madrid, or Amsterdam" declared the president of the Hauts-de-Seine departmental council [i.e. Nicolas Sarkozy].

The revival plan involves the destruction and reconstruction of 17 buildings with a total surface area of 150 000 m² (1,6 million sq. ft) [the journalists are wrong on this figure, it's much more than that in reality], with the possibility to increase the floor surface in the reconstructed buildings. New buildings will be the results of architect contests among a happy few architects.

At the end of October, insurance group Generali selected French architect firm Valode & Pistre, which has become one of the busiest in France, for a new tower also approaching the critical 300 meters (90 000 m²/1 million sq. ft). Located on the main axis of La Défense, to the right when coming from central Paris, its shape will be easily recognizable. Gothic, with five spires (a dream for mountaineers), eco-friendly on a closer look, high-tech in the details of its structure, it could remind one, on a non-repetitive mode, of the structural principles of the NYC World Trade Center.

Valode & Pistre, who are also building the T1 Tower (185 meters), not far from the future tower of Unibail, had only four competitors, among them Christain de Portzamparc, one of the stars of French architecture who is already building, further West behind the Grande Arche, the so-called "Granite" Tower for Société Générale.

HIGH TRANSPARENT TABLE

The "Business District" is not the only Parisian territory flouting the capital and its ukases [they mean flouting the municipality of the City of Paris proper and its ukases]. In Boulogne-Billancourt, Jean Nouvel, who also took part in the contest for the tower of Unibail, is in charge of building a 88 meters tower on the grounds of the former Renault car factory, a tower whose renders suggest a high transparent table, a giant square greenhouse with a double-slopping roof. In Levallois, work has started on the twin towers. Clichy is launching an architect contest for one tower. Aubervilliers is just about to follow suit. Issy-les-Moulineaux plans to build or rebuild five towers and its mayor André Santini (UDF party) last June reportedly murmured delightfully in Mr. Delanoë's ear the following encouraging words: "You'll see, your friends will be so jealous of my towers that they will let you build some". ["your friends" here means Paris Mayor B. Delanoë's inconvenient and uncompromising Green Party allies in Paris city hall]

In this quarrel, architectural, economic, and financial stakes are intertwined, so much so that it is sometimes difficult to decide between them. One thing is certain, towers have become the bête noire of part of the Parisian population and the terror of the current municipal team. If Parisians are so hostile to towers, however, it is in large measure because almost all the towers that they saw rising in the 20th century were both urban and architectural failures [here the journalists are referring to towers built in the City of Paris proper, not to towers built in La Défense which lies outside of the administrative City of Paris], starting with the unattractive Montparnasse Tower whose 210 meters loom out in front of the namesake train station.

ARCHITECTURAL FORM

These failures have multiple causes. It is first of all the result of a conceptual flaw unknown to American skyscrapers. In France, in Paris notably, towers are set up like singular objects instead of being integrated into the urban fabric. The foot of these sorts of monuments is thus "vitrified" and urban life has a hard time establishing itself on the no man's land so defined. These towers are sometimes built upon a network of concrete slabs [with car traffic running below the concrete slabs and pedestrian only areas above the concrete slabs] which is even more restricting, and leads to uncertain security. Such is the case with the mediocre buildings of the Front de Seine [a neighborhood along the Seine in the 15th arrondissement] or those of the Nationale neighborhood in the 13th arrondissement whose environment the city tries to renovate, without being able to change its nature [i.e. a vast concrete slab, no real streets].

As two of the architects most loved by the media, Patrick Bouchain and Rudy Ricciotti, underlined again on Thursday November 23 on France Inter radio, rejection of towers, much like the "hatred of concrete", are hiding the real issues of a city like Paris, namely "urban density" and the "management of the still empty spaces vis-à-vis the already built-up areas".

Another debate where very tall buildings is again a key issue is the debate over architectural form, opposing those favoring a creative revival like in the other great capitals of Europe (from London to Rome, from Madrid to Berlin via Brussels) to those favoring "retro" neoclassicism in line with Haussmannian schemes [Paris 19th century architecture and urban planning] which are most favored by members of the Green Party.

Perhaps shaken by the arguments of professionals, particularly those of architect Yves Lion, the mayor of Paris is declaring himself, albeit cautiously, in favor of the principle of towers of moderate height in the areas along the Périphérique ring [the Périphérique freeway/motorway lies on the administrative border of the City of Paris]. He must, however, come to terms with the Greens in his municipal coalition. A test of his determination will come soon: the construction, or not, of a tower on the grounds of the Paris heliport which is due either to relocate to another area [of Greater Paris] or to reduce its perimeter. True, these grounds are located beyond the sacrosanct Périphérique ring. [the journalists are ironic in their ending here because the Paris heliport is the only sizeable piece of land of the City of Paris, beside the Bois de Boulogne and Bois de Vincennes parks, that is located beyond the Périphérique ring, so the mayor could say he's building a tower inside the city proper, when in fact the heliport is not really inside the city proper]
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Old November 28th, 2006, 07:14 PM   #484
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Here's is a little picture I made to get an idea about how La Defense will look like in 2012.

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Old November 28th, 2006, 07:52 PM   #485
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It looks better in this rendering except the top of it.
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Old November 28th, 2006, 07:55 PM   #486
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jef View Post
It looks better in this rendering except the top of it.
I do agree that I don't like the "hairs" either. It gives the feeling the tower is unfinished. Anyway, there's still time untill the construction will begin (the tower should be completed by 2012). They have still time to study a better pinacle.
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Old November 28th, 2006, 08:44 PM   #487
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Ah, I see Metropolitan beat me a few minutes to it. LOL. Anyway, here are my own renderings, tyring to show both the Generali Tower and the "tour signal" in the skyline of Paris. It's very hard to make such renderings, because the "tour signal" looks different depending on the angle, so my renderings should only be considered tentative. Also note that the "hair" on my renderings are particularly ugly, due to software limitations on my side. I think in reality these "hair" won't be so bad.

As you can see, the "tour signal" looks really great on the view from Chinatow. Hopefully reality will look as great as on my Chinatown rendering.

View from Notre Dame cathedral (the renovated AXA Tower, as well as the currently u/c T1 and Granite towers are shown):


View from the Eiffel Tower (new AXA, T1, and Granite are not shown):


View from Chinatown (new AXA, T1, and Granite are not shown):
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Old November 28th, 2006, 09:25 PM   #488
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well done !!!

i like the one from eiffel tower best
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Old November 29th, 2006, 06:41 AM   #489
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that article has such a hottt rendering of Phare...ooh baby!
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Old November 29th, 2006, 08:32 PM   #490
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kony View Post
i like the one from eiffel tower best
Well, see you on the roof of Dauphine University in 2012. The view from Dauphine will be the most fantastic I reckon.
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Old November 29th, 2006, 11:07 PM   #491
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from very far away when you can't see the base, or the drag queen hairdo of pubic hairs, and when you can see just its outline, then it looks decent enough to not totally bring down the skyline.

It would be nice if they could build a giant boxy building in front of it, so that you can hide the phare
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Old November 30th, 2006, 01:41 AM   #492
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News about the tour signal's height:

According to recent developments on the French forum, it seems the tower will be definitely taller than 300 meters, and in fact I reckon it should be around 320 meters (give or take a few meters)!!!

Several French forumers looked at the renders and models carefully (the ones shown on French TV evening news), and it appears the tower will have between 71 and 75 floors (most probably 75). This means that roof height should be around 300 meters. Don't forget, however, that the "tour signal" will be built on a concrete slab which is itself 10 to 20 meters above the natural soil (I think it's closer to 20 meters than to 10 meters). So including the hair and the concrete slab, we get a height around 320 meters if not a little bit more.

As I said earlier, we'll probably know the exact height only when the building permit is issued, but from what I've read on the French forum it looks promissing. It's stange though that they didn't focus their PR on "the tallest tower of western Europe". Probably this is because French people are adverse to tall buildings, so they prefer to remain elusive about the actual height.
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Old November 30th, 2006, 10:53 PM   #493
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Nice rendering by JR Lyon showing La D?fense from... the roof of the Opera perhaps (?), with the "tour signal", Generali Tower, new AXA Tower, T1 and Granite towers. I think the "tour signal" is not shown from the correct angle, but still, it's an interesting rendering.

For those wondering, the church in the foreground is the Saint Augustin church in the 8th arrondissement.

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Old December 1st, 2006, 12:17 AM   #494
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wow those 2 towers are strikingly different

one is straight and pointy

the other is wavy and frayed at the top

i like the tour signal more than the generali
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Old December 1st, 2006, 12:48 AM   #495
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The Generali is great! I prefer it to Tour Signal, but I know I will grow more and more fond of Tour Signal. Two great scrapers for Paris!! Now we only need the Tour sans Fin..
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Old December 1st, 2006, 03:08 PM   #496
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Neuilly projects

As has already been mentioned in this thread, Neuilly-sur-Seine's local council, just across the Seine river from La Défense, are planning to build two 160 m (525 ft) skyscrapers along the avenue linking central Paris to La Défense (an avenue running through Neuilly-sur-Seine). These "short" skyscrapers would sort of mark the entrance to the business district. They are also planning to build a suspended bridge above the Seine and the freeway/motorway crossing the Seine. People could thus walk freely from the business district to Neuilly and further to central Paris. Another project they have is to bury the avenue linking central Paris to La Défense, which is currently used as a freeway/motorway, and create a regular avenue (Paris style) above it. Burying this avenue/motorway would cost up to 1 billion euros.

Metropolitan has updated his La Défense rendering by adding the suspended bridge and the Neuilly-sur-Seine towers (the two towers most to the right). Note that the burying of the avenue/motorway has been approved (but could be halted if the left win the presidential election), whereas the towers and the suspended bridge haven't been approved yet (approval is due within the coming months).



Here are a few renderings already posted for those who missed them. The whole project is an idea of French architect Vasconi. The renderings come from his firm.

Neuilly to the left, La Défense to the right. Below is a view now, above is Vasconi's project:


The avenue linking La Défense to central Paris as of now. The avenue is used as a freeway/motorway:


The same avenue after the motorway is buried:




In this alternative project, the motorway is not buried, it is simply covered. It would cost less money:

Last edited by brisavoine; December 1st, 2006 at 03:18 PM.
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Old December 1st, 2006, 03:12 PM   #497
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Thanks to have uploaded this information Brisavoine.

I would just like to specify that the rendering I've made is imaginative. No design for the towers in Neuilly or for the bridge have been determined yet. It's more my vision of how it could look like than anything else.


Brisavoine, could you resize the horizontal diagram of the avenue ? It makes your text painful to read as we have to scroll while reading. As for the alternative project, it looks good as an image but seems totally unrealistic to me. Indeed, what is considered for the streets crossing perpendicularly the avenue ? Do they want to build bridges above their elevated gardens ?

Last edited by Metropolitan; December 1st, 2006 at 06:04 PM.
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Old December 1st, 2006, 03:25 PM   #498
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I think the bridge you put on your rendering looks pretty close to Vasconi's project. Your two towers are different, yes, but what matters here is the approximate height and location, which is correct. It's just to get an idea of how things would look. Personally I think it would look terrific.
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Old December 1st, 2006, 05:22 PM   #499
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I just peeped at the first montage in post 496, is this really the design that is going to be chosen? sorry i've not had the time to sift thru all the threads in the french forum, but i have a hard time with the connecting bridge design.As much as i love the idea of it all, if that is The bridge design they're going with, then i'm sorely disappointed: it just doesn't sits well with the surroundings it's supposed to blend with.
I for once would totally ditch the cables and funky curvy masts to go with something a lot more conservative.
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Old December 1st, 2006, 05:26 PM   #500
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mais le design des tours est inventé ou quoi ??? roo oui.
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