Tour Sans Fins

France Go Full Screen

The essential question was the meaning of an object in relation to a building as symbolic as the Arch de la Défense and a historic milestone building, the CNIT. Verticality was needed to contrast the squared, anchored mass of the arch, producing a synergy and offering an invitation to view one from the other. While one construction is massive, defined, thick, pierced, the other should be at the margin, elsewhere, without limit, undefined. We can not say where the form of a cylinder finishes, because it is refined by light and shadow – although the vortex effect means that it is not the ideal form for a tower. Endless, what does that mean? Firstly we don't read the limits. Not just laterally, but where is the beginning and the end? We can suppose that this tower sprung from the centre of the earth, it rises from a crater in the ground. The other extremity disappears into the sky, and that's why the tower is 350 meters high.This is a tower about great simplicity and is extremely minimal, with a layering of framework, texture, lighting and interior spaces. Dense at the base and extremely airy at the top, the outer skin always remains constant. Through this we perceive the inner skin which vanishes through a working of thickness of matter, which dematerializes upwards to almost the thickness of the air. Under the Parisian climate the tower would be mostly indecipherable. From the west, against the light, it would appear like a phantom, ephemeral, immaterial. Visible though from the Tuilleries, it would resonate notably with the Obelisk.The simple, slender form would progressively change in matter from strong, black granite, through gradual tones of grey granite, becoming lighter and with subtle changes of grid, then becoming aluminium, more polished, until it becomes silk-screened glass over several levels, and totally transparent at the top.

Jean Nouvel

- Status: Unbuilt
- Location: Triangle De La Folie, La Defense, Paris, France
- Dates: 1989-1992
- Net floor area: Tower - 91 000m2, 910 000sq ft
- Gross floor area: Tower - 142 300m2, 1 423 000sq ft, building : 326 210sq ft, parking : 514 000sq ft
- Program: offices, parking, conference center, bar, facilities
- Construction cost: 274 400 000€, 250 000 000$
- Client: SCI Tour Sans Fins

Architectural team
- Jean Nouvel, Emmanuel Cattani & Associés
- Project Managers: Françoise Raynaud
- Architects: Jean François Bourdet, Thierry Marco Hala Warde, Isabelle Agostini
- Economist: Pascal Madinier

Consultant team
- Structures And Foundations: Ove Arup And Partners
- Fluids: OTH, Trouvin Ingenierie
- Security: Casso Gaudin
- Models: Etienne Follenfant, Gerard Vois