where the modern architecture hides

April 26, 2010

in order to preserve the parisianness of paris, they have made it illegal to build buildings taller than a certain height, aka skyscrapersof course, it only took the construction of montparnasse to make everyone realize that this was in fact, a very good idea.


since the 1950s skyscrapers and ‘modern’ (it doesn’t take much to make something modern here) buildings have been delegated to the area known as la défense, making it a center of business, steel and glass.


the only thing seemingly tying it in with the rest of paris is the grande arche de la défense. designed by danish architect otto von spreckelsen, it is supposed to be a modern interpretation of the arc de triomphe,  following suit and lining up along triumphal way.

for me it was like getting out of the metro in a completely different city.  i even found myself lost and trapped inside a shopping mall, which i didn’t even mean to go into in the first place.


...and right as i was about to be convinced that i was dreaming up this modern city, i noticed this… french businessmen on their lunch break playing boules… and all was right with paris again.

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One Response to “where the modern architecture hides”


  1. […] Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe, bringing it across the Seine and joining eventually with the Grande Arche de la Défense, installed in the 1980s. (Kiley called the half-mile long concourse the Dalle Centrale, although […]


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