The view from atop the Eiffel Tower could change dramatically in the next five years, as plans for six skyscraper projects on the outskirts of Paris are currently in the works. Yet another project received the green light recently to begin construction inside Paris city limits – making it the first building taller than 121 feet built in Paris in the last three decades.
Respected Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron (whose past masterpieces include Beijing’s Bird’s Nest and the de Young Museum in San Francisco) will spearhead Le Projet Triangle, a massive 600-foot-tall ultra-modern pyramid structure in southwest Paris (about five miles from the Louvre) that is so thin from the side it hardly casts a shadow. The building will hold offices, a conference center, and a 400-room hotel.
Many people see the project as a throwback to 1972, when the Tour Montparnasse, a generally detested 689-foot-tall structure, was erected, and directly resulted in the city imposing building height limits in 1977. The largest business district of Paris, La Défense, showcases multiple skyscrapers in a compact area, but it's outside official city limits. In fact, only a handful of buildings inside Paris proper are more than 12 stories. And that’s how Parisians like it; 62 percent of residents polled say they dislike skyscrapers within the city limits, according to a poll on the World Architecture News website.
It’s a sentiment shared here in D.C., says Roger Lewis, professor emeritus of architecture at the University of Maryland and practicing urban planning consultant. Lewis has also written the Washington Post column "Shaping the City" since 1984, which focuses on urban design and planning issues. I talked to Professor Lewis about the impending growth spurt in Paris, and how it relates to L’Enfant’s original plan for Washington, D.C.
After the jump: Professor Lewis's thoughts on Parisian expansion.