Not many buildings in Paris are as generally despised as the 58-story, 1970s Tour Montparnasse — seen by most residents and visitors as an out-of-place skyscraper and a stain on the city's urban panorama. Attempting to give the tower a fresh look, and also bringing its building performance into the 21st century, an international architectural competition was launched in 2016.
The winners have now been announced, and team Nouvelle AOM emerged victoriously — beating out competition from household names like OMA, Studio Gang, Dominique Perrault, and MAD Architects — to give Tour Montparnasse a new identity.
Nouvelle AOM (short for Nouvelle Agence pour l’Opération Maine - Montparnasse) is a consortium of three Paris-based firms, comprising the architects Franklin Azzi, Fréderic Chartier, Pascale Dalix, Mathurin Hardel, and Cyrille Le bihan.
"When we took up the challenge of this exciting competition," Nouvelle AOM explains, "our focus was on revealing the beauty of the Tour Montparnasse from the inside out. We achieved this by incorporating radically new uses and crafting a complete sustainable 'green' makeover of the facade. The aim is to make the Tower an icon of the 21st century energy revolution."
The tower redesign is expected to cost €300M ($356M) — reportedly financed entirely by the building's co-owners — and shoots for completion by 2024, just in time for the Paris Olympic Summer Games. The transformation is also seen as a vehicle for urban renewal with benefits for the greater Montparnasse neighborhood.
The seven projects shortlisted for the competition, and the winning proposal in particular, are now also on display at an exhibition at the Pavillon de l’Arsenal, the city's center for information, documentation, and exhibitions relating to urban development and architecture, until October 22 in the 4th arrondissement of Paris. Admission is free.
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