The Tour Montparnasse: Past and Future

The third round of the international architectural competition culminated in the announcement of Nouvelle AOM as the winner. This consortium of three Paris-based architectural practices that include architects Franklin Azzi, Fréderic Chartier, Pascale Dalix, Mathurin Hardel and Cyrille Le Bihan has proposed an ambitious project that will establish the Tour Montparnasse definitively as an icon for the 21st century.

To mark the visit to Paris by the Evaluation Commission of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) from 13 to 17 May, the EITMM supports France’s bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics by projecting the “Paris 2024” logo in white onto its façade, between the 22nd and 54th floors.

The housing complex invites architects to enter an international competition to renovate the Tour Montparnasse. It encompasses the entire tower: the façade, the reconfiguration of the base, followed by upgrading work.
The joint owners are supported by the Mairie de Paris, the mayors of three arrondissements (6th, 14th and 15th) and a steering committee of property professionals, architects, urban planners and others.

Returning to its literary roots, the Tour Montparnasse plays host to the Paris se Livre book festival. Hosted on the 56th floor of the tower again this year, the festival also awards literary prizes to works in which Paris plays a major role.

The Montparnasse landmark plays host to the HQ of the Vendée Globe, a round-the-world non-stop yacht race.

The Tour Montparnasse is lit in white for the first time during the city’s nocturnal art festival, La Nuit Blanche. This success was repeated three years in a row.

TGV Atlantique trains begin operating on the high-speed west coast line from Montparnasse. A concrete slab is constructed over the tracks by the Ville de Paris and the whole site is expanded and fully restructured. The first TGV station, Maine-Montparnasse, is built by the architect, engineer and urban planner Jean-Marie Duthilleul.

It was a colossal undertaking. We had to cover twenty-four tracks – the size of the place de la Concorde. I had to invent a solid enough concrete structure but airy so passengers wouldn’t feel suffocated under six-metre ceilings.

On 18 June 1973, after four years of construction, the Tour Montparnasse is completed: the story of the city’s only skyscraper begins.

  • April: first stone laid.
  • October: foundations completed.

André Malraux, minister of culture under French president Georges Pompidou, grants planning permission to four architects, Jean Saubot, Eugène Beaudouin, Urbain Cassan and Louis de Hoÿm de Marien. He decides in favour of the project:

The Tour Montparnasse shall be a contemporary belfry, I ask it of you, in the name of France.

Initial surveys conducted preparatory to the construction of the Tour Montparnasse. Criticised for its height, the plans spark controversy.