Arcadis is working on a bid to regenerate the Eiffel Tower in Paris, it has been revealed.
As part of the Agence Ter team, Arcadis will provide engineering expertise for the group which also includes architects Carlo Ratti and Exploration Architecture, Berim and Cronos Conseil & Alphaville.
Whittled down from 42 applications, the Agence Ter team is one of four shortlisted for works as part of the £262M regeneration project designed to improve infrastructure for pedestrians, motorists and cyclists at the site. This round of works are worth around £40M.
”This is an unusual competition because it revolves around perhaps the world’s most iconic monuments, but does not include an intervention on the structure itself. The challenge is to think at the scale of the whole site in order to improve the experience for tourists and to bring Parisians back to the area,” Arcadis city executive for Paris Nicolas Boffi told New Civil Engineer.
“Arcadis’s key contribution will be on the functional aspects of the flows through the site, helping to manage the mobility aspects of this large, significant and very active public space. With 150,000 visitors a day wanting both to enjoy the place and to know how to get from one point to the other, this will be a critical part of the project.
“To add to the challenge, the works must be completed by the time Paris hosts the world for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games, with several events to be held nearby and preparatory works taking place in parallel with this project.”
The other three front-runners for the project are led by Amanda Levete Architects, Gustafson Porter & Bowman and Koz Architects. The shortlist was announced by Paris deputy mayor in charge of Urban Planning Jean-Louis Missika.
“In 1889, when the Eiffel Tower was constructed it was a UFO,” Missika said. “We do not need a grand architectural gesture, because we already have one. What we need now is for the site to work more practically for tourists and Parisians.”
He added: “At the moment we are working on the ground around the base of the tower in order to make it safer from terrorist attacks.
“From there we need to make it a more enjoyable experience and I expect a major urban planning scheme to be put in place.”
The site covers 54ha of land on both sides of the River Seine, with the Eiffel Tower site located at the centre. The competition asks teams to spend 10 months exploring how to enhance the visitor experience at the base of the tower, strengthen existing connections across the site and reconfigure public transport routes.
Missika said that there was a real need to improve infrastructure for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.
Paris deputy mayor, in charge of Sport, Tourism, Olympic and Paralympic Games Jean-François Martins also urged the shortlisted teams to come up with designs to cater for those waiting to climb the iconic monument.
“We need to improve the reaction from people visiting the Eiffel Tower,” he said. “At the moment people can wait one and half to two hours and there is nothing to keep the occupied.”
He added: “We thought about the possibility of building an underground space, like at the Louvre, with shops.
“But we have decided that it would be a shame to bury our visitors underground, so we are going to look at other ways to improve their visit and manage the queuing system.”
The four shortlisted teams will be using building information modelling technology to present their plans and will working from a detailed site plan constructed by Autodesk.
The digital site map of the 2.4km² area was constructed via 10.3bn laser points. It maps 8,200 trees and 1,000 buildings in the Eifflel Tower surrounds, and was constructed from data collected by using drone, satellite and back-pack lasers.
Gexpertise collected the data, while WSP and Autodesk collaborated to create the model.
“Autodesk will now provide the shortlisted candidates with the model in order for them to provide their designs,” said Autodesk head of strategy Karen Weiss. “We will be offering workshops on how to use the model and then once the designs are ready we will present four final versions to the City of Paris to choose from.”
The design period is expected to last around a year, with construction work due to be completed before the 2024 Olympic Games.
Like what you’ve read? To receive New Civil Engineer’s daily and weekly newsletters click here.