The French government has announced that it is committing €200 million towards restoring the Grande Arche de la Défense, the 110m tall hollow cube which marks the Western end of Paris' Axe Historique. The arch was completed in 1989 to celebrate the bicentennial of the French Revolution, however in its 25-year lifespan it has not fared well: an elevator scare in 2010 forced the rooftop facilities to close, and the area around the North tower has been closed to the public due to the risk of falling marble tiles. Studies conducted between 2004 and 2010 concluded that one in six of the facade tiles had been severely damaged by rain.
The €200 million investment will focus on the arch's Southern tower, where workers for the French ecology and housing ministries who occupy the space have complained of a lack of natural light and poor working conditions.
More on the Grande Arche's future after the break
Architect Paul Andreu, who completed the building after the project's original architect Johann Otto Von Spreckelsen died in 1987, admitted the design's flaws to Agence France-Presse, saying: "We were under heavy constraints in constructing a 'modern Arc de Triomphe' that continued the historic east-west axis in Paris. The exterior appearance was given priority over the interior. Today, we need to completely reorganise the building."
Despite these limitations, the arch is too important a monument for France to let it crumble, and although these current renovation plans only include the Southern tower, officials would not rule out plans for other parts of the building: Michel-Régis Talon, spokesperson for the ecology ministry, said that they had "never given up hope of reopening" the rooftop facilities.
Restoration work is expected to begin in October and last for two years.
Story via the Guardian