Gustafson Porter + Bowman has won a ’career-defining’ competition to design a £35 million overhaul of the spaces around the Eiffel Tower in Paris
Working with French studio Chartier-Corbasson, the London-based practice was selected ahead of bids by Amanda Levete Architects (AL_A) with Gross.Max; Paris-based Koz Architectes; and France’s Agence Ter with Italy’s Carlo Ratti Associati.
The competition, launched in early 2018, sought a public realm upgrade that boosted safety, improved the tourist experience and reduced queuing around the 324m-tall wrought-iron tower, currently the most-visited paid monument in the world.
It is understood the chosen sheme, dubbed OnE, which has been drawn up with heritage specialists Atelier Monchecourt & Co and French urban designers Sathy, will create ’the largest garden in Paris’.
Described as ’one readable landscape that reveals unity, continuity and diversity’, the proposal covers a 54ha site stretching 1.6km from either side of the River Seine, between the Trocadéro and the Military Academy, and along the river embankments between Bir-Hakeim and Alma Bridges.
The practice likened its concept to ‘a landscape painting where multiple colours, different textures combine to form a single image, a single mind and a sole composition’.
According to the contest brief, the project aims to the enhance the tower’s architectural quality, upgrade the pedestrian experience at the base of the tower, improve existing connections across the site and overhaul the circulation of the surrounding public transport, buses, boats and cars.
Practice co-founder Kathryn Gustafson said: ’This competition has been especially meaningful to me because I studied in Paris at L’École Nationale Supérieure de Paysage. Every day I passed the Eiffel Tower, on my way to a school, where I was immersed in the great historic landscapes of Versailles.
‘The Eiffel Tower reminds me that patrimony means leaving something better for future generations. Our proposal unites a celebration of history with an enhancement of the future.’
The project is part of a wider £265 million revamp of the tower, due to complete by 2032. Gustafson Porter + Bowman’s public realm revamp is expected to complete in 2023 in time for the Paris 2024 Olympics.
The full shortlist
- [WINNER] Gustafson Porter + Bowman (UK) with Chartier-Corbasson (FR)
- Agence Ter (FR) with Carlo Ratti Associati (IT) and Explorations Architecture (FR)
- Koz Architectes (FR), Jun’ya Ishigami (JP) and Atelier Roberta (FR)
- AL_A (UK) with Gross.Max (UK)
Gustafson porter paris
Architect’s view – Gustafson Porter + Bowman
OnE proposes 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. Along this central green axis, a series of reimagined landscapes interlock: 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.
The Pont d’Iéna bridge is reincarnated as a green promenade
The scheme also creates spaces of pleasure and contemplation that punctuate the length of the site, and serve to prioritise the human scale. New perspectives are framed and staged, rebalancing the gravitational pull of the Eiffel Tower and activating a sense of arrival throughout. The proposal establishes a coherent and refined hierarchy of uses across the site, improving pedestrian accessibility and city circulation.
The design evokes the union of two historic landscape typologies: classical French gardens, characterised by major axes that express power; and French picturesque gardens, as places of artistic experimentation. In this urban landscape, green routes and gardens reserved for creative pursuits frame and soften the central axis. These ‘corridors’ and ‘glades’ introduce biodiversity, as well as areas for hosting temporary events. such as musical performances and sculpture exhibitions. Thus, OnE compresses into one word the idea and ideal of a unified space.
Lastly, the scheme embodies the international character of the site; it connects not only the site from West (Trocadéro) to East (Joffre) – the Ouest-Est / OnE represents the interconnections on this site between the West and East of the world: one humanity, one planet. Therefore, it encapsulates a unified environmental approach towards the future. The City of Paris and the OnE proposal represent the vanguard of instituting environmental resilience into an urban context.
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Client City of Paris Eiffel Tower Team
Contest duration February 2018 - May 2019
Site area 54ha
Budget £35 million (€40 million)
Plazas Place du Trocadéro; The Varsovie Fountains; Quai Branly; The Eiffel Tower Esplanade; Champ de Mars; Place Jacques Rueff; Place Joffre
Historic Buildings The Palais de Chaillot; The Pont d’Iéna Bridge; The Eiffel Tower; The École Militaire
Neighbourhoods 7th arrondissement; 15th arrondissement; 16th arrondissement
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