Grande Arche in La Défense

Grande Arche in La Défense
Context & Issues

Completed in 1989, the “Grande Arche” structure has become the emblematic building in La Défense district. This megastructure has the shape of a hollowed-out cube. It consists of two vertical buildings (the south and north sides of the cube) that are connected at the top by the roof of the arch and at the  bottom by the base. The “Arche” represents an intricate real-estate complex. The French Ministry of the Environment, Energy and the Sea owns the south side, the roof and part of the base, while the north side is managed by several co-owners. After 25 years of use, the Grande Arche was showing signs of deterioration: the roof had been closed to the public since 2006 for safety reasons, the offices no longer complied with current comfort standards, and the marble panels on one of the façades were in the process of disaggregating with a risk that the panels could crack and ultimately fall in the longer term. The Ministry therefore decided to launch a refurbishment project in the form of an emphyteutic lease and appointed Artelia to provide project management services in January 2012. Furthermore, three years later, the management agency for the north-facing side, appointed Artelia in 2015 to provide design and construction supervision services for the renovation of the north-facing façades.

Project characteristics

The cube side length is approximately 110 m.
The roof has a surface area of about one hectare and is more than 100 m above ground.
The Grande Arche itself consists of 41 levels, 36 of which being above ground.