Paris gives green light to ‘Leaning Towers’

City authorities in the French capital have given the go-ahead for the building of two eye-catching new skyscrapers, a move that won’t please all lovers of the City of Light.

Paris gives green light to 'Leaning Towers'
The startling Tours Duo comprises two buildings of unequal height which lean away gently from each other. Photo: Jean Nouvel

The startling Tours Duo comprises two buildings of unequal height which lean away gently from each other.

The taller tower consists of 39 stories and comes in at 180 metres in height while its smaller sibling is 27 storeys and 122 metres high.

Designed by prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel, the towers will go up in the city’s 13th arrondissement,  in the south west of the centre, with the expected completion date being 2020 — provided at least 50 percent occupancy is guaranteed.  

The total cost of the buildings is in the €500- to €600 million range.

“The issuance of the construction permit brings us into a new phase of this exciting project,” said Meka Brunel, Executive Vice President, Europe of building investor Ivanhoé Cambridge in a statement.

“Both because they are the work of one of France’s greatest living architects and because they meet a well-thought-out and concerted urban vision, the Tours Duo will add their mark to Paris’s status, which makes us very proud.

The decision to green-light the Tours Duo project comes after just months after Paris authorities overturned a ban on the building of the controversial 180-metre Triangle Tower, or Tour Triangle in French.

(The controversial Triangle Tower now set for a 2020 completion date. Photo: AFP)

Considered the pet project of Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, the planned construction of the 40-floor-high pyramid-shaped tower was initially voted down by city councillors. But a second vote gave the thumbs up to the project designed by the Swiss agency Herzog and De Meuren, the pair behind the Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing.   

Tours Duo designer Jean Nouvel slammed the Paris council after their initial rejection of the Tour Triangle, noting Paris was “no more horizontal than most European cities”.

But he conceded many of the towers in Paris were not buildings “that inspired pride”.

The tallest skyscraper in the Paris area is the First Tower in La Défence, 225 metres tall if the spire is not included. There are 17 buildings in France over 150 metres in height, compared to eighteen in London and just five in Madrid.

At a height of 180m (590 feet), the proposed pyramid would be the third-tallest building in central Paris after the Eiffel Tower (324 metres including the antenna) and Montparnasse Tower (210 metres).

The construction of skyscrapers and high-rise buildings remains controversial in the French capital, with much of the Haussmann's amazing design for a central Paris limited to six stories still intact and under Unesco heritage protection. 

SEE ALSO: France's most controversial building projects

(Works on the planned Lyon-Turin TGV line. Photo: Jean-Pierre Clatot/AFP)

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