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Tour Montparnasse set for £500m regeneration competition

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An international competition has been announced for a £500 million overhaul of Paris’ opinion-splitting Tour Montparnasse skyscraper

Planned to launched next year, the competition will seek ideas to re-clad the 210 metre-tall landmark.

Designed by Eugène Beaudouin, Urbain Cassan and Louis Hoym de Marien – the controversial 59-storey building triggered a 40-year ban on towers in the French capital shortly after its completion in 1973.

Its owners are now seeking a new ‘translucent and reflective’ exterior for the dark brown structure which occupies a 2.5 hectare site in Paris’ low-rise 15th arrondissement.

A 30,000m² shopping centre at the tower’s base will meanwhile be expanded and a new hotel and housing will also be erected within an existing plaza.

Announcing the contest, Demain Montparnasse Group president Patrick Abisseror told Le Journal du Dimanche:  ‘We are aware that the Montparnasse complex is today seen as ugly and tacky. We want to radically transform its image, turn it into a beacon of modernity that will be the pride of Paris.’

Jean-Marie Duthilleul, the architect organising the contest, suggested the structure could be made ‘much softer, white or translucid, and above all reflective.’

He added: ‘It was here in Montparnasse where cubism was invented a century ago. We could use that for inspiration and redesign the tower as though it were conceived by Picasso or Fernand Leger.’

The project is expected to complete by 2024 when the city is hoping it will host the Summer Olympics.

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