Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Paris Highrises

There has been much discussion recently about whether the Paris skyline should be allowed to creep upwards towards the height of other leading cities around the world. The current Mayor of the city, Bertrand Delanoë, is globally in favour so long as the new towers do not spoil exceptional views and are of sufficient architectural quality. His first project is Le Triangle which is planned for 2012, but other areas on the periphery of the city have also been earmarked for new highrise projects in the coming years.

Historically, the height of the buildings in the city has always been relative to the width of the street on which they stand. In general, this corresponds to a maximum of 31 metres in the centre, and 37 metres towards the edges of the city. However, as has often been the case in France, there have been many exceptions, notably in the period between 1967 and 1977.

Those who seek therefore to defend a supposed Paris exception and the homogentiy of the architecture seemingly overlook the fact that the city is already home to many tall buildings. They may be on a smaller scale to other places around the world, but they are as interesting in their various forms as in any other city on the planet. Here are a few examples.

Personally I would like to see more of these buildings, and yet I can also say that I wouldn't like to live in one! Nevertheless, as Germaine Greer pointed out in an article for The Guardian newspaper, "towers supply the most prestigious accommodation in the world". She also points out that if designed and maintained carefully, they are the most efficient forms of construction, something that Le Corbusier had also demonstrated. So is there a place for quality highrises in Paris?

5 comments:

Laids Livres said...

I love this area in the 13th arrondissement where you have most of the high rises of Paris gathered in two square kilometers. However, I don’t know what would be the atmosphere of this neighborhood if it wasn’t Chinatown.

5-storey building epitomizes the Parisian lifestyle. I think Paris should stick to this kind of urbanism that develops strong bonds between you and your village.

SP said...

I think you nailed it in the last paragraph... I love looking at (and photographing) them but I wouldn't want to live in one!

Starman said...

I'm in favor of the high-rises as long as they don't encroach on the integrity of the inner city that most of us love as it is. I like the tall building at La Defénse and the 13é, but I wouldn't want to see anything like that in the city centre.

Peter said...

Interesting to see what will happen. I guess there will be something high also fairly close to where I live, around what was supposed to be the Olympic village. That would include a new Palace of Justice? The city and the local mayor (17th) are fighting about this right now.

shano said...

Always loved that second one. Makes a great backdrop for taking photos on the left bank.

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