Paris builds first high-rise in 30 years
Architects to construct a 200-metre tall building in the city centre, due for completion in 2012.26 September 2008
PARIS -- Paris revealed plans on Thursday for a pyramid-shaped tower in the southwest of the capital, the first new high-rise building to be built for 30 years.
Designed by Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, the tower will stand near the Porte de Versailles congress centre south of the Eiffel and Montparnasse towers -- the two giants of today's Paris skyline.
While a major high-rise complex was built in La Defense business park west of the capital, high-rise buildings were banned inside central Paris under a 1977 rule -- cancelled by the city authourities in July.
The Socialist mayor of Paris Bertrand Delanoe said the project, financed by property developer Unibail with completion set for 2012, combined environmental performance with a design of "astonishing beauty".
Construction is due to begin in 18 months on the tower, a sharp pyramid measuring up to 200 metres that will house offices, a conference centre and possibly a hotel, following a public discussion.
Paris city council in July reversed a 30-year ban that limited the height of inner-city buildings to 37 metres, introducing plans for new towers of up to 200 metres at six symbolic sites inside the city centre.
Part of wide-ranging renewal plans, the towers will mix shops, offices and childcare centres under plans supported by Delanoe despite hostility from green politicians and many Paris residents.
The 37-metre limit began in 1977 to stop several high-rise projects -- including the Montparnasse tower -- that were quickly seen as failed experiments.
Delanoe promised city officials would "not repeat the mistakes of the past".
[AFP / Expatica]