France’s much-maligned Montparnasse tower could become ‘the pride of Parisians’ thanks to a proposed €700 million overhaul of the skyscraper.
An architecture competition will be launched next year for the revamp of the 1973 tower – originally designed by architects Eugène Beaudouin, Urbain Cassan and Louis de Hoÿm de Marien.
‘We are aware that the Montparnasse complex is today seen as ugly and tacky,’ Patrick Abisseror, president of the Demain Montparnasse project, told Le Journal du Dimanche. ‘We want to radically transform its image, turn it into a beacon of modernity that will be the pride of Parisians.’
Architect Jean-Marie Duthilleul, who is overseeing the competition, wants a design that will make the 689 ft brown tower ‘a lot softer, whiter or more translucent, and above all reflective’.
A potential makeover could even reference the history of the Montparnasse area. ‘It was here that Cubism was invented a century ago,’ Duthilleul told Le Journal du Dimanche. ‘We could use that as inspiration to redesign the tower as if it were conceived by Picasso or Fernand Léger.’
Abisseror also floated the possibility of having designers transform one of the building’s facades twice a year. ‘The idea of making Montparnasse a Parisian Times Square could then be fully realised,’ he added.
Demain Montparnasse wants a design decided by 2017 and construction to begin before 2020. The aim is to have the tower ready for the 2024 Olympic Games, which Paris is bidding to host.