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The Montparnasse tower will get a revamp in time for the Olympics
It claims to offer the best views of , and many locals agree: it is the only one where where the tower itself doesn’t blight the view. The Tour Montparnasse, which was built to such negative reception that skyscrapers were subsequently outlawed within the city walls, has hurt the views of southern for 44 years, but now it is getting a makeover.
The last year has seen hundreds of architectural agencies compete for the prize of redesigning the skyscraper with a 300-million-euro budget. Nouvelle AOM, a group of French architects, was recently given first prize and will now be able to embark on the five-year renovation project.
Their idea is to transform the façade from its morose and industrial black to a glossy glass finish. The tower will be extended from 210m to 228m with a biosphere greenhouse on top that will allow for enhanced views from the top floor restaurant. Solar panels and rainwater capture tanks will complete the eco-renovation, in line with Anne Hidalgo’s political vision of the city.
A suspended garden will adorn the 14th floor with views of the Eiffel Tower, while all the remaining floors will have some form of vegetation too. A hotel will cover the 42nd to 45th floors and the ground floor will be open to the public, as is the case with many modern French property developments.
Nouvelle AOM’s budget comes from the town’s main co-ownership which is made up of 450 companies and 300 individuals. They beat co-finalists Studio Gang, an American outfit famous for peculiar creations like Chicago’s aqua tower. Part of AOM’s success was being creative enough to not disguise the tower’s original shape – with an extra façade, another tower – as some had wished to do.
“This was a huge challenge, as the Tower isn’t like any other,” the competition’s jury explained. “Nouvelle AOM’s project perfectly captures the spirit of the 21st century, giving the Tower a multifaceted identity revolving around attractive, innovative new uses. The Tower will breathe new life into the Montparnasse neighbourhood.”
“The City of is delighted with this choice, which marks the beginning of a major transformation of both the Montparnasse Tower and the city itself,” added Jean-Louis Missika, deputy mayor of that oversees urban planning and the Grand project.
The Nouvelle Agence pour l’Opération Maine-Montparnasse is a consortium of French architectural firms Franklin Azzi Architecture, Chartier Dalix Architectes and Hardel et le Behan Architectes. A statement from the group reads:
“When we took up the challenge of this exciting competition, our focus was on revealing the beauty of the Tour Montparnasse from the inside out. We achieved this by incorporating radically new uses and crafting a complete sustainable ‘green’ makeover of the facade. The aim is to make the Tower an icon of the 21st century energy revolution,” explains Nouvelle AOM.
Work is scheduled to begin in 2019 and is to be completed by the 2024 Olympics.