The Paris business district is the center of the contemporary fashion world. Within Paris is La Défense, “one of Europe’s leading international business districts, and as such a showroom of the French economy.” (Scicolone, 2012) The development since its inception had to deal with numerous global issues stemming from high inflation that constricts consumer spending to global economic slowdowns that undermine business investment. However, the Paris’ La Défense is an example of how a well-planned and managed business district may continue to perform well during the inevitable downturn in the business environment.
The development sprung following the post WWII economic boom (Scicolone, 2012). The rise of the economic centers of Europe—Frankfort, Germany, and Paris France, provided a shift in the economic pendulum from the U.S. into western and central Europe. From an urban planning perspective, the investment into the business district in Paris provides the needed sociocultural investment, during that period, to further drive business investment in France. The relative size of the buildings, initiate the skyscraper like mentality that would soon grip the rest of the world, seeking to establish steel monuments in the sky. The development of tall buildings will also draw notable architects into Paris for the project.
“Between 1964 and 1969, the first wave of tall buildings started to emerge in La Défense, with office towers such as Tour Nobel (current Tour Initiale, 105 meters/344 feet, 1966), Tour Aquitaine (106 meters/348 feet, 1967) and the residential projects Boieldieu (1965), La Défense (1966) and Lorraine (1969), These towers are the first generation of towers to appear in La Défense.” (Scicolone, 2012) The relative height of these buildings remains small. The attempt to restrict size to enable greater usage of public space ostensibly did provide the necessary result. The aesthetic qualities of a business district with less sizeable building structures enables the sun to penetrate down into the city streets and provide an environmental benefit.
- Scicolone, M. (2012). Developing Skyscraper Districts: La Défense. LÉtablissement public dáménagement de La Défense Seine Arche (EPADESA). Retrieved from: http://technical papers.ctubuh.org