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France Invests $267.5 Million to Restore La Défense’s Crumbling Cube
La Grande Arche in La Défense has dominated Paris’ skyline for twenty five years, however the immense structure has fallen into disrepair as its marble facade crumbles and threatens to fall on people below. Fortunately, the French government has decided to invest €200 million to renovate the iconic building and work is scheduled to begin in October.
The 110-meter high and 110-meter wide cube of La Grande Arche surpasses the Notre Dame cathedral in size, and its large viewing platforms and commercial spaces once attracted over 250,000 visitors per year. It was designed by Danish architect Johann Otto von Spreckelsen, who won an international competition, but due to illness he had to pass on responsibility for its construction to French architect Paul Andreu. La Grande Arche was inaugurate back in 1989 as a symbol of prosperity and economic growth, but it has suffered substantial damage over the years.
Several recent studies found portions of the building unsafe, partly due to the porosity of the stone. The weather and pollution have also left their mark on the architectural behemoth, and the area around the foot of the north side of the arch has been closed to the public. Additionally, some of the occupants of the office spaces on the south side have complained about the poor working conditions and the lack of natural light. The renovation work will focus on the building’s south side and is expected to last for two years.
Via The Guardian
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