The Daring
Diagonal
Virtual
Museum

A division of the Center
for the Study of Diagonality
in World Culture

Daring Diagonal Virtual Museum
Euler Hermes
TOUR FIRST, Paris
Kohn Pedersen Fox
2007-2011
Executed by:
Date:

This skyscraper, the tallest in France and close in height to the Eiffel Tower, was not always as tall or as eye-catching. Judging from the angled planes of the tower, it is not surprising that the footprint of the tower is a three-pointed star. This shape was chosen to symbolize the three French insurance companies that merged into the present entity Euler Hermes.

Typical of many buildings designed in the 21st century, the building massing appears as if a vertical block of clay was shaped with a butcher knife, slicing away boring slabs of material and thereby creating, in the actual building, an interesting play of sloping planes of blue glass. The top of the tower has a distinctly delicate French-looking cornice of triangular components whose pointy ends project out from the face of the glass curtainwall below. This decorative border brings to mind (and maybe deliberately so on the part of the architects) the cast-iron cresting atop many older buildings in France. A narrow portion of the tower extends higher than the occupied floors and this is treated with a wavering ribbon-like pattern of differently hued blue panels. The tower presents a very striking and memorable image as seen from the banks of the nearby River Seine.

A shorter version of the building (157 m ( 515 ft) was completed in 1974 and was reconfigured in 2007-2011. The height of the present roof is 225 m (738 ft). while the antennae reaches 231 m (758 ft). The architects that reconfigured the building were Michel Stenzel, Pierre Dufau, and Jean-Pierre Dacbert. However, the team that renovated the tower include the globally-active US firm of Kohn Pedersen Fox.

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