Paris: “The Column of the Sun,” this crazy project that failed in front of the Eiffel Tower
par Thomas Martin
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His Wikipedia entry does not match Gustave Eiffel’s entry. Jules Bordes It also had a major project for the Champ-de-Mars in view of the Universal Exhibition of 1889 but in the end it was the Eiffel Tower that stood out. A competition that Artie will return to on Saturday, November 18, in the documentary “Eiffel Tower Wars.” We see how Gustave Eiffel, who died a hundred years ago, struggled to create his famous tower, the tallest in the world at that time.
The “Sun Tower” to illuminate Paris
For the 1889 Exposition, Gustave Eiffel and his engineers proposed building a metal tower three hundred meters high. They face, on the one hand, a lack of understanding and, on the other hand, competing projects like Jules Bourdais.
It was the French engineer Sibio who returned from the United States with the idea of the “Sun Tower” that would illuminate Paris. On his return to France, he joined forces with Bourdais, the engineer who, along with the architect David, built the Trocadero Palace in 1878 (editor’s note: destroyed in 1937).
For this huge lighthouse, the latter envisioned a three-hundred-meter-high tower “topped with an electric fireplace to illuminate Paris.” The “Pillar of the Sun” aims to “easily illuminate the Bois de Boulogne and all the regions of Neuilly and Levallois as far as the Seine”!
Why did Gustave Eiffel win?
It has a stone core surrounded by overlapping arcades and cast iron columns. The triangular base alone exceeds the height of Notre Dame’s towers and will house an electricity museum. The lighthouse is crowned with a belt of stars, and surmounted by the winged statue of the genius of science.
But there’s a problem, the architect completely neglected the massive weight of the monument and the massive foundation work it would have required, its instability, and a completely disproportionate estimate!
In addition to this, political events. If Bordis gains the support of Council President Charles de Frescinet, Gustave Eiffel finds an unstoppable argument to persuade Édouard Lecroy, the new Minister of Economy, to choose his project: he undertakes to cover the construction costs for a ten-year concession.
Gustave Eiffel wins the match.
Zodiac Wars – Saturday, November 18 on Arte at 8:50pm
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