Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo on Tuesday announced that American architect Kathryn Gustafson had won the bid to transform the area around the Eiffel Tower – creating a 1.6 km long green space around the structure to allow pedestrians and cyclists to move around more freely.
The iconic tower gets around 6 million visitors a year, but the area around it is frequently choked with traffic and the thousands of visitors who arrive every day are crushed into a small space.
Photo: Gustafson Porter and Bowman
Gustafson, 68, of London-based firm Gustafson Porter and Bowman told Le Parisien: “I am horrified by the state of the premises, which are not adapted to the flow of walkers and visitors. We have to rethink everything.”
Her winning design will create a “unifying axis: celebrating the Eiffel Tower at the centre of a line that connects the Place du Trocadéro, the Palais de Chaillot, the Pont d’Iéna, the Champ de Mars and the Ecole Militaire”.
It will make the Seine bridge Pont d'Iéna car free, with only public transport and emergency vehicles allowed, and create a walk and cycle route with a series of mini parks.
Photo: Gustafson, Porter and Bowman
The bid states that: “At the Place du Trocadéro, an amphitheatre of greenery restores space to pedestrians; a new and enlivened public space unfolds from the Varsovie Fountains towards the Pont d’Iéna; the bridge is reincarnated as a green promenade towards the gardens of the Eiffel Tower; the forecourt of the Eiffel Tower caters to the crowds with additional services and facilities discreetly hidden amongst the trees; and the raised lawns of the Champ de Mars protect and elevate the landscape.”
It is envisaged that the parks could be used to stage concerts and events.
The project – entirely financed by the company that operates the Eiffel Tower – is set to be completed by 2024, in time for the Paris Olympics.
It is the latest in a series of projects unveiled by the office of Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo to make Paris more pedestrian and cyclist friendly.
Other schemes to try and cut Paris' high levels of air pollution include revamping seven of the city's major squares and plans to put extra walkways and cycle routes on the Champs Elysées and replace the Arc de Triomphe roundabout with a park, beach or even occasional ice rink.
The full list of works for the Tower include:
Place du Trocadéro – development of a green amphitheatre at the Place du Trocadéro; reorganisation of traffic around Trocadéro
The Varsovie Fountains – extension of the Varsovie Fountain area and renovation of terraced seating; introduction of aisles to the side of the fountains for universal circulation
Gardens of the Trocadéro – rehabilitation of tunnels in the Trocadéro gardens in the service of DEVE and visitors; rehabilitation of existing kiosks
Pont d'Iéna – creation of two new squares on either side of the Pont d’Iéna bridge – Varsovie square, to host events and large gatherings and the Quai Branly square, to aid pedestrian flow to the Eiffel Tower; greening and pedestrianisation of the bridge, preserving passages for public transport and emergency vehicles
The Eiffel Tower – renovation and embellishment of the Eiffel Tower gardens; redevelopment of SETE services around the pillars and cantonments; creation of two luggage drop-off facilities in front of the Eiffel Tower forecourt entrances
Emile Anthoine Place – rehabilitation of Emile Anthoine site, with the creation of a new playground area, a ‘Villa Médicis/Résidence de la Haute Gastronomie’ restaurant and club house; creation of Emile Anthoine Place proper, to act as an alternative entrance to the Eiffel Tower for visitors arriving from Bir Hakeim
Quai Branly – installation of a continuous promenade between Bir Hakeim bridge, the Eiffel Tower and the Museum of Quai Branly, including cycle paths and planting schemes; creation of various recreational spaces such as restaurants, shops and information stations
Gardens of Champ de Mars – landscaping of the north garden to introduce a bowl-shaped lawn and new planting schemes; development of site access for improved connection to the Ecole Militaire metro station; installation of cultural and artistic events