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British-led team beats Arcadis in Eiffel Tower competition

Gustafson Porter & Bowman has won a “career-defining” competition to design a £35M overhaul of the spaces around the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

According to New Civil Engineer’s sister-title Architects Journal, the London-based practice was selected ahead of three rival bidders including the Agence Ter team which included Arcadis and Italy’s Carlo Ratti Associati.

Other bids were led by Amanda Levete Architects with Gross.Max and Paris-based Koz Architectes.

The competition, launched in early 2018, sought a public realm upgrade that boosts safety, improves the tourist experience and reduces 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 French studio Chartier-Corbasson, 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 the 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 £265M 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.

Project details

Client City of Paris Eiffel Tower Team
Contest duration February 2018 - May 2019
Site area 54ha
Budget £35M (€40M)
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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