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Paris green lights the Tours Duo skyscraper project

The City of Paris delivered the building permit for the Tours Duo project on 22nd September. The asymmetrical towers designed by architect Jean Nouvel will see the light in the French capital in 2020.

Chosen during an international competition held by the City of Paris on 24th April 2012, the Ateliers Jean Nouvel will finally be able to build their proposed “Tours Duo.” The jury was chaired by Anne Hidalgo, then deputy in charge of urban planning, now Mayor of Paris. The two towers will be financed by investors Ivanhoe Cambridge

The work, which should have begun late 2014 for delivery in 2018, was postponed. Ivanhoe Cambridge now hopes to launch the construction onsite in the second quarter of 2016, once half of the future office space is sold. The asymmetrical leaning towers are scheduled for completion in 2020.

“The issuance of the building permit brings us into a new phase of this exciting project” said Meka Brunel, Executive Vice President for Europe of Ivanhoe Cambridge, in a press release.

Tours DUO PV01

The project includes a housing complex, offices, hotels and businesses spread over a total surface area of 105,250 m2. The site is in the Masséna-Bruneseau area in the 13th arrondissement, part of the Paris-Left Bank development project.

Bordered by the ring road and located near the Seine and the railway tracks serving the Austerlitz station, the first tower (180 meters high) will comprise 39 floors and the second one 27 floors (120 meters). These buildings will contain 96,100 m2 of office space as well as an auditorium, businesses and shops, two gardens and terraces. The latter will house a four-star hotel with 120 roomson atop 15 floors of offices, and a top-floor restaurant and “sky bar” boasting panoramic views of Paris.

“We want this to become a destination for Parisians”, says Meka Brunel. “By working with the City of Paris, we have made the project more efficient, more attractive and have included features to be shared with the general public: the auditorium and two gardens will be accessible independently from the street”.

Tours DUO PV04

Jean Nouvel explained the advantages of his project’s location and design in an interview: “The Tours Duo make the most of the potential linked to their location. They are positioned so as to be seen from the Avenue de France as well as from the entrance of the National Library.” What’s more, “the towers stand as both guardians and witnesses to the entry of trains into the city,” with “their inclined façades will reflect passing cars and trains”.

Ivanhoe Cambridge is the real estate subsidiary of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), an institutional investor that manages public pension and insurance programs in Quebec. CDPQ is the only investor in the project, the amount of which has not been disclosed.

Brunel explains how the project fits in with Paris’ vision for its future: “The City of Paris has begun a densification process to curb urban sprawling, which is both bad for the environment and detrimental to the quality of life of its citizens.” The towers fit within this framework, and will add an “exceptional presence” to the city, along with their intended “functionality.”

Jean Nouvel has already made important contributions to the capital’s architectural aesthetics. His credits include the Arab World Institute, the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art, the Philharmonic and the Quai Branly Museum.

This project is one of only a handful of skyscrapers planned in coming years in Paris. Among them is the controversial tour Triangle and the future Batignolles courthouse in the 17th arrondissement designed by the architect Renzo Piano and expected in 2017.

All photos curtesy of MSL Publicis / credit: L’Autre Image

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