Architect Ego Trip or Necessity for a Modern Metropolis? Paris Debates Skyscrapers

Following Mayor Bertrand Delanoe's overturn of a ban on buildings over seven storeys high, Paris is planning a dozen new skyscrapers outside the city centre. Debate over the towers is destined to become an issue in next year's municipal elections.

40 years after the controversial Tour Montparnasse put an end to skyscraper construction throughout most of Paris, John Laurenson examines the debate over plans to build tall once again, with new buildings by notable architects such as Renzo Piano and Jean Nouvel in the pipeline.

"Olivier de Monicault is president of the anti-skyscraper pressure group SOS Paris. He has a name for this sort of building - 'rupture architecture' - and he hates it," writes Laurenson. "Modern architects, he says, make no attempt to fit in with the architecture of the cities they build in. 'Usually the architect makes a project, then he tries to sell it in any place in the world,' he says,"

"However, Paris city hall stresses that the city is not about to become Dubai," notes Laurenson. "The new height limit of 180m is quite a lot lower than the Eiffel Tower."

"Paris is competing hard with other cities like London as an international capital," says Paris district mayor Jerome Coumet. "Paris too must be able to offer modern office space."

"There is every sign that city hall's decision to build high in Paris will be one of the issues that will decide municipal elections in March of next year."

Full Story: Does Paris need new skyscrapers?

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