|The First Art Newspaper on the Net
||Established in 1996
|| Sunday, January 22, 2017
|Inaugurated only 25 years ago, the 'Grande Arche' of Paris falls into sorry state |
A file photo taken on August 2, 2013 shows people walking by the Grande Arche in the business district of La Defense, outside Paris. It was inaugurated 25 years ago to much pomp on the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution, but Margaret Thatcher no doubt remembered it more as the place where she got stuck in the toilets. Today, the gigantic Grande Arche on the outskirts of Paris is in a sorry state -- the prized Carrara marble covering parts of the structure is worn down, businesses snub its cramped office space and the entire building is now closed to the public for security reasons. AFP PHOTO BERTRAND GUAY.
By: Sophie Deviller
PARIS (AFP).- It was inaugurated 25 years ago to much pomp on the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution, but Margaret Thatcher no doubt remembered it more as the place where she got stuck in the toilets.
Today, the gigantic Grande Arche on the outskirts of Paris is in a sorry state -- the prized Carrara marble covering parts of the structure is worn down, businesses snub its cramped office space and the entire building is now closed to the public for security reasons.
This 20th-century version of the French capital's Arc de Triomphe -- a glass and marble cube so big it could house Notre-Dame Cathedral -- stands in the business district of La Defense outside Paris at the end of a long, straight axis that begins at the Louvre museum and takes in the Champs-Elysees.
Danish architect Johan Otto Von Spreckelsen conceived the project, but an illness forced him to hand over the reins in 1986 to France's Paul Andreu.
The building was inaugurated on July 14, 1989, with a three-day G7 summit attended by top leaders from around the world including Thatcher.
Britain's then-prime minister "no doubt long remembered her visit," said an official who was present on that day, who asked to remain anonymous.
"A door handle broke and she got stuck in the toilets. Her bodyguards were forced to break down the door."
A little hard-going
Today the Grande Arche is a shadow of its former self.
The base of the cube's north face has been cordoned off for safety reasons and on the south side, some of the marble has been replaced by granite, a more resistant material.
The rooftop offers an unrivalled view of the Champs-Elysees, the Concorde square and the Tuileries Garden that leads on to the Louvre -- but has been closed to the public since April 2010 because of an elevator incident.
The ecology and housing ministries based in the south face of the Grande Arche have narrow corridors with no natural light and cramped offices with low ceilings.
The place is "a little hard-going", Andreu acknowledged.
"We had big restrictions: to erect a 'modern Arc de Triomphe' in line with the historical axis that crosses Paris from east to west," he said, referring to the straight line stretching from the Louvre to the Grande Arche.
"The exterior was favoured over the interior."
From October, both ministries are launching big renovation works that will cost nearly 200 million euros ($270 million) over two years and will improve insulation, optimise space and replace all the marble.
But the future of the north face where much of the office space is empty is more uncertain.
Real estate group Jones Lang LaSalle has had to reduce the rent, charging 320 euros per square metre per year compared with an average of 400 euros in the rest of the district.
Reopening the rooftop, which was once visited by tens of thousands of tourists every year, is also an option, though nothing has been done so far.
"But the idea of reopening has never left us," says Michel-Regis Talon, a spokesman for the ministries.
© 1994-2014 Agence France-Presse
August 6, 2014
6,500-year-old skeleton newly 'discovered' by archaeologists at the Penn Museum
Accreditation panel decides to exclude Northampton Museum and Art Gallery and Abington Park Museum
Fundació Joan Miró organizes exhibition featuring 112 works by Miró, in Santiago, Chile
Museo del Prado releases statement related to the 885 works reported missing
Yuri Andropov birth centenary evokes nostalgia for Soviet hardliner and his harsh treatment of dissidents
Chuck Jones, legendary animation director, is the subject of new exhibition
Inaugurated only 25 years ago, the 'Grande Arche' of Paris falls into sorry state
Exhibition explores the facts and fiction surrounding the most famous road in America
John Singleton Copley portraits reframed at the Baltimore Museum of Art
Cantor Arts Center appoints new Curator of the Arts of Africa, Native America and Ancient America
New artist commission by Krijn de Koning now open at Turner Contemporary
The New York Public Library offers pop up reading room outside iconic 42nd Street building
Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions to offer the late Dennis Brown Collection of Gauge 1 Locomotives
Skinner, Inc. announces two-day auction of American furniture & decorative arts
Aspen Art Museum 2014 ArtCrush benefit raises $3 million
Turkey announces pavilion by Sarkis for the 56th Venice Biennale
Micheal Mabry's Delta art on display at the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum
ArtPrize announces 2014 particpating artists and venues
Glossiness of Uncarved Jade: Solo exhibition of Cui Ruzhuo (III) explores Cui Ruzhuo's Journey of Creation
Guns for William Waldorf Astor and Indian general go with a bang at Bonhams
Global Video Art Series continues at the Jewish Museum with 'Sights and Sounds: Israel'
Malaysian shamans brave Islam's ill winds
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- After decades of slights, Cuban-American artist Carmen Herrera tastes fame at 101
2.- Gallery 19C rediscovers a lost Realist treasure by Alphonse Legros
3.- France blocks sale of rare Leonardo Da Vinci painting 'Saint Sebastian'
4.- New exhibition at the National Museum puts select works of art under a microscope
5.- Getty Museum presents first major exhibition on 18th century artist Edme Bouchardon
6.- Rarely seen silkscreen prints by Jacob Lawrence on view at the Phillips Collection
7.- Fraenkel Gallery debuts of new, large-scale photographs by British artist Richard Learoyd
8.- Kurdish-Arab forces seize strategic Syria citadel from IS
9.- Paris show of masterpieces unseen in West is smash hit
10.- Award-winning Indian actor Om Puri dies of heart attack
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.