The competition was promoted by the Public Establishment for Development of La Défense(EPAD).
The origin of a tall building adjacent to the La Grande Arche de La Défense designed by Johan Otto Van Spreckelsen and opened in 1989 was from his own sketches. He envisaged a minaret/campanile as a classic counterpoint.
Our design approach was more subtle, and consisted of a series of five towers from 15 to 30 floors enveloped in a glazed gossamer. The towers are connected by voids within which are suspended landscaped meeting spaces, and bridges between the vertical circulation cores. An expansive glass canopy spreads out from the voids to create a covered public gallery and gardens. Within is located a World Language Museum embracing oral cultural traditions as well as presenting the evolution and diversity of the spoken language.
The brief required new offices totalling 100,000m2. We also inclued a Language Museum and a public gallery.
The winner was Jean Nouvel’s proposal, ‘tour sans fin’, 426m high. This was abandoned in 1991.
The design team was Ian Ritchie Architects, Peter Rice and Jean Louis Lhermitte.