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Sarkozy looks to Foster, Rogers and Hadid as he aims to reignite France's architectural scene

British starchitects Norman Foster, Richard Rogers and Zaha Hadid have been in talks with French president Nicolas Sarkozy about the revival of Paris' famed 'Grand Projets'.

The trio were joined by 11 more of the world's top architects who gathered in Paris yesterday to discuss Sarkozy's plans for ambitious architectural competitions, the city, and the future of the country's architecture.

Among the other big names invited to the 'working lunch' with the premier were Shigeru Ban, Massimiliano Fuksas, Jacques Herzog, Rem Koolhaas, Thom Mayne, Jean and Dominique Perrault.

The 14 stars spent two days talking to Sarkozy in the new City of Architecture and Heritage museum, housed in the wing of the Chaillot Palace, near the Eiffel Tower.

Speaking before the meeting Rogers said: 'It's great that President Sarkozy is continuing the French tradition of being directly involved in improving the quality of the built environment.'

The last, high-profile governmental drive to improve the built environment in Paris was under President Mitterand in the late 1980s and into the early 1990s.

However, since then the city has appeared to stagnate and it is speculated that Sarkozy wants to reinvent and kick-start a new wave of building across the capital.

by Richard Waite

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