Dezeen Magazine

Tour Signal by Jean Nouvel

Here is a set of images from architects Ateliers Jean Nouvel of their competition-winning design for Tour Signal at La Défense, Paris.


Nouvel beat four other shortlisted architects, including Foster + Partners and Daniel Libeskind, to win the competition - see our earlier story about the shortlist.


The 71-storey tower will have four sections, each with a large atrium creating balconies on the exposed floors and will include office, hotel, residential and retail spaces.


Here's some more information from the competition organisers:


The winner is Ateliers Jean Nouvel.

The team has chosen to locate its project at the Porte Ouest to open up the La Défense neighbourhood to Puteaux.

This project’s ambition is to create a strong hub at the heart of the Greater Paris region, creating a significant draw at the same time as establishing a relationship between the project and its natural and built-up environment, embodying the various temporal considerations which strengthen the links between a project and its environs.


The project comprises 71 storeys, forming a mixed-use building which brings together apartments, hotels, offices and retail premises in the lower section.


It is made up of four blocks piled one on top of the other with atriums forming huge windows, each facing in alternate directions. These perspectives reveal floor levels which form balconies within each of the atriums.


Team: Nouvel - Medea – Layet
ana Desarollos Immob iliarios
Site: Port e Ouest
Height: 301 m

Surface area: 140,000 sqm consisting of:
Offices : 50,000 sqm
Residential: 33,000 sqm
Hotel: 39,000 sqm
Public facilities : 8,000 sqm
Retail, restaurants: 10,000 sqm


Tour Signal, a high-quality environmental and emotional project

As the CNIT or the Grande Arche have marked the history of the business district in their time, the Tour Signal, France’s first ever mixed tower, will become the symbol for the regeneration of La Défense. It will reflect the daring architectural approach and exemplary environmental practices that characterise the fresh impetus given by the EPAD for the regeneration of La Défense.


Sustainable development, a key issue for the plan to regenerate La Défense La Défense, a very energy-hungry district (over 150,000 employees and 20,000 inhabitants) that is constantly being worked on must put new operating and construction methods in place in order to minimise impacts on the environment. In this way, the EPAD, driven by its Chief Executive Officer, is committed to making sustainable development one of the priorities for the plan to regenerate La Défense, and is looking to make it an example and a model in this area.


The EPAD would like the commitments made and actions carried out for La Défense to be applied in general, representing a new international standard. In addition, the EPAD has successfully rallied together some 600 stakeholders responsible for business districts, architects, academics, entrepreneurs and members of international organisations, thanks to the organisation of the first global summit of business districts for sustainable development and the creation of the international network of business districts for sustainable development.


Approaching this new phase in its history in this way, La Défense is openly committing to the path of sustainable development.


Tour Signal: symbolising the environmental commitment…
The French President indicated, in his closing speech for the Grenelle de l’Environnement roundtable process on Thursday October 25, 2007, that “priority must be given to reducing energy consumption by buildings”. This concern is shared by the EPAD, which has asked the teams bidding for the development of the Tour Signal to apply innovative solutions, including a strong focus on renewable energy.


Their projects must also comply with the requirements for the three key sustainable development levels – economic, social (quality of life and well-being) and environmental – with the consistency and balance between these aspects within the proposed architectural concept representing key factors for the choice of the winning project.


…and the entirely new very high emotional quality concept
Combining creative strength, formal audacity and technological modernity, the Tour Signal project represents for the EPAD a way of introducing a new dimension for developed sites within this business district. By creating the entirely new very high emotional quality concept, the EPAD is committed to building France’s first ever mixed tower, combining apartments, offices, hotel facilities, retail outlets and cultural facilities. The architects must therefore factor in exchanges between the various populations – workers, residents, retailers – for their creative review, in order to establish a genuine emotional quality of life within La Défense. In this way, the candidates have had to set out how the project will ensure an overall optimisation of the design, systems and use of space, and more specifically shared spaces.


The Tour Signal project, a new stage at the heart of 50 years of innovation

Representing a showcase for the national economy, a laboratory for pioneering construction and a melting pot for tall buildings with a human face, the business district was born in 1958, the year when the Cnit, its first emblematic monument, was inaugurated (architects: Robert Camelot, Jean de Mailly, Bernard Zehrfuss). The second was created around 30 years later, based on a hollowed out cube some 110 meters high, built on the historical axis that virtually links the Louvre courtyard to the terrace at Saint-Germain-en-Laye.


The appearance of the Grande Arche (designed by the Danish architect Otto von Spreckelsen) in 1989 marked La Défense’s entry into “adulthood”, while enriching it with a heritage and tourist dimension. In the meantime, a 160 hectare courtyard, three generations of office towers and around 50 works of art had given the district its illustrious nobility.


Since then, new towers have continued to be added to its skyline. The third emblematic monument of La Défense is to come. The Signal tower will combine retail outlets, apartments, services and offices, reflecting the EPAD’s commitment to a daring architectural project with exemplary environmental practices, characterising the fresh impetus for La Défense.


Tour Signal: symbolising the ambitious redevelopment of La Défense

La Défense has represented a laboratory or even a pioneer in terms of architecture. The Tour Signal project, through its original approach and ambition, represents the driving force that will enable La Défense to maintain its status as Europe’s leading business district, while also making its image even more dynamic.


Tour Signal will mark the history of La Défense. Its specifications are governed by two ambitious demands: on the one hand, sending out a major architectural message to the world, conveying creative strength, formal audacity and technological modernity; on the other, building France’s very first genuinely mixed tower, combining offices, apartments, hotel facilities, retail outlets and cultural facilities.

Dynamic project contributing to the appeal of the Greater Paris Region and France in general The Tour Signal project and the plan to regenerate La Défense embody values that are firmly focused on the future, in line with the ambition set out by the French President for a France that is dynamic, modern and committed to protecting the environment. In this way, Tour Signal will demonstrate the continued vitality of an innovative region that can be proud of working towards the development of an effectively controlled economy centred around people, within an environmentally-friendly framework, facilitating exchanges between all levels of life.

La Défense, as the Greater Paris Region’s major economic asset, will in this way contribute to the appeal of what is set to become “the great Paris”. La Défense is not positioning itself to compete against the new commercial areas that are developing
around Paris today; in fact quite the opposite, it is further strengthening the appeal of the Paris Region with European and global competition.