Grande Arche


Grande Arche

The Grande Arche de la Fraternité is a monument in the business district of La Défense to the west of Paris. It is usually known as the Arche de la Défense or simply as La Grande Arche.

Design and construction

An international design competition was launched at the initiative of French president François Mitterrand. Danish architect Johann Otto von Spreckelsen (1929–1987) designed the winning entry to be a 20th century version of the Arc de Triomphe: a monument to humanity and humanitarian ideals rather than military victories. The construction of the monument, which was undertaken, began in 1982. After Spreckelsen's death in 1987, his associate, French architect Paul Andreu, completed the work in 1989/90.

The "Arche" is almost a perfect cube (width: 108m, height: 110m, depth: 112m; it has been suggested that the structure looks like a four-dimensional hypercube (a tesseract) projected onto the three-dimensional world). It has a prestressed concrete frame covered with glass and Carrara marble from Italy and was built by the French civil engineering company Bouygues. [ [http://www.bouygues.com/us/groupe/fiches/pop_arche_defense.html Bouygues website: Grande Arche] ]

The nearly-completed "Arche" was inaugurated in July 1989, with grand military parades that marked the bicentenary of the French revolution. It completed the line of monuments that forms the "Axe historique" running through Paris. The "Arche" is turned at an angle of 6.33° on this axis however, a peculiarity which has been explained by several theories. In particular, the architect is said to have wanted to emphasise the depth of the monument, while the specific angle was chosen to create symmetry with the similarly-skewed Louvre at the other end of the "Axe". However, it seems the most important reason was mundanely technical. With a métro station, an RER station, and a motorway all situated directly underneath the "Arche", the angle was the only way to accommodate the structure's giant foundations.

In addition, the "Arche" is placed so that it forms a secondary "axe" (axis) with the two highest buildings in Paris, the Tour Eiffel and the Tour Montparnasse.

The two sides of the "Arche" house government offices. The roof section, exploited by Stephane Cherki, is an exhibition centre. The vertical structure visible in the photograph is the lift scaffolding. Impressive views of Paris are to be had from the lifts taking visitors to the roof.

Access

References

ee also

* List of tallest buildings and structures in the Paris region

External links

* [http://www.grandearche.com/ Grande Arche] (French and English)
* [http://maps.google.com/maps?q=paris,+france&hl=en&ie=UTF8&z=18&ll=48.892755,2.235991&spn=0.003135,0.006351&t=k&om=1&iwloc=addr Satellite image from Google Maps]
* [http://fromparis.com/html/panoramas.php?pano=000005_01 Panoramas]
* [http://www.insecula.com/oeuvre/O0018992.html/ Grande Arche] (in French)
* [http://www.virtualparis.fr/en/guide/displayVisit/29 A virtual tour of the Grande Arche]


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