Saturday, September 8, 2012


The marble and glass Grande Arche at La Défense built from 1985 thru 1989 has always given rise to controversy because for many it disfigures the perspective from the Champs-Elysées. The interior empty space in the cube-like structure purportedly is tall enough to contain the spire of cathedral Notre Dame de Paris.

That's not the only space empty there: the top story which housed a convention and exhibition center, a computer museum, a restaurant and a panoramic observation area had to be closed to the general public in 2010 for safety and economical reasons; after reparation of an elevator following an accident, it was determined that renovation of the series of panoramic glass elevators would be too costly. Those spaces are now to be used as offices for the Ministry of Ecology, which incidentally has had to call for a safety inspection of the building's façade because of the porosity and erosion of certain of its marble plaques. Some have fallen off. The office space in the two supporting towers continue to be in use.

photo by Ian Byrd

vide:  empty
une flèche:  a spire; an arrow
un ascenseur:  an elevator

©2012 P.B. Lecron

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