Grande Arche de la Defense

Paris, France

Grande Arche de la Defense

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La Grande Arche de la Défense (French: [la ɡʁɑ̃d aʁʃ də la defɑ̃s]; "The Great Arch of the Defense"), originally called La Grande Arche de la Fraternité (French: [fʁatɛʁnite]; "Fraternity"), is a monument and building in the business district of La Défense and in the commune of Puteaux, to the west of Paris, France. It is usually known as the Arche de la Défense or simply as La Grande Arche. A 110-metre-high (360 ft) cube, La Grande Arche is part of the perspective from the Louvre to Arc de Triomphe, and was one of the Grands Projets of François Mitterrand. The distance from La Grande Arche to Arc de Triomphe is 4 km (2+12 miles).

A great national design competition was launched in 1982 as the initiative of French president François Mitterrand. Danish architect Johan Otto von Spreckelsen (1929–1987) and Danish engineer Erik Reitzel (1941-2012) designed the winning entry to be a late-20th-century version of the Arc de Triomphe: a monument to humanity and humanitarian ideals rather than military victories. The construction of the monument began in 1985, with most of the work being carried out by French civil engineering company Bouygues. Spreckelsen resigned in July 1986 and ratified the transfer of all his architectural responsibilities to his associate, French architect Paul Andreu. Reitzel continued his work until the monument was completed in 1989. The Grande Arche is in the approximate shape of a cube with a width, height and depth of 110 m (360 ft); it has been suggested that the structure looks like a hypercube (a tesseract) projected onto the three-dimensional world. It has a prestressed concrete frame covered with glass and is covered in Bethel Granite.

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