Thom Mayne’s design for 300m tower wins prestigious competition in La Defense district

A new rival to the Eiffel Tower has been approved for the business district of Paris. A 300m-tower called Le Phare (the lighthouse) will be only 20 metres short of the Eiffel Tower, and will dwarf other office buildings in La Défense.

The design by Californian architect Thom Mayne will feature a nest of wind turbines protruding from the roof of the tower. The tower is asymmetrical and a bulge near its base gives the building a funnel-like appearance.

Mayne’s Santa Monica-based practice Morphosis won the competition ahead of nine other architects.

In July French officials announced a plan to upgrade La Defense with 450,000m3 of new office space, including a bold architectural tower, by 2013.

The building’s owner, property group Unibail, asked for something that would provide a model of sustainable development.