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Paris to Get Spiffy New Skyscraper

Where: Paris, France
June 3, 2008 at 1:19 PM | by | ()

Architect Jean Nouvel just won a contest to build a new skyscraper in La Défense, a district of Paris. Nouvel's design beat out plans from British Gherkin mastermind Norman Foster and Daniel Libeskind--who came up with the atrocious original design for New York's "Freedom Tower."

At 71 stories, Nouvel's building will be seventy-five feet shorter than the Eiffel Tower, but in a city where skyscrapers are few and far between, Nouvel's "Signal Tower" is sure to have a dramatic effect on the skyline. Echoing this sentiment, one of the jurors who selected the design said it would be the

Most important architectural act since the Eiffel Tower.

That's probably a bit of an overstatement, but the bar for skyscraper architecture in Paris hasn't exactly been set very high. The only other seriously tall building in the city is the Tour Montparnasse, which isn't much more than a big, ugly, black box.

Grandiose claims aside, the skyscraper seems fairly unremarkable. The Signal Tower has a simple rectangular design that looks as if it's made from a series of stacked cubes, but it does seem like the building has some pretty spectacular lighting effects. Nouvel's sketches for the interiors, show dramatic spaces with psychedelic murals, high ceilings--and since the French are all shop-aholics--Sephora and Dior stores.

Related Stories
· Jean Nouvel's New "Signal Tower" Will Reshape Paris Skyline [IHT]
· Architecture coverage [Jaunted]

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