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Tour Sans Fins

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Tour Sans Fins

"Tower Without Ends"
Tour Sans Fins
General information
Status Never built
Type Office
Location Courbevoie (Paris), France
Roof 425.6 m (1,396 ft)
Technical details
Floor count 100
Design and construction
Architect Jean Nouvel

The Tour Sans Fins (“Tower Without Ends”) was a tower planned in La Défense that has since been cancelled. The spelling Tour Sans Fins may, to a native French-speaker, sound like a grammatical mistake as it would normally be written Tour Sans Fin without the ‘s’ at the end of fins. However, the idea was that this tower had no ends, even if one looked up or down at it, hence “ends” and not “end”.


The history of the Tour Sans Fins is linked to the early projects for La Défense. The Grande Arche was built in an area that was not yet developed. As a testimony to the lack of completed construction in La Défense, the winning design was selected next to an outdoor parking lot of the RER The winner of this contest was Jean Nouvel, and his Tour Sans Fins was meant to be 425m tall and would have been the tallest skyscraper in Europe. Technical reasons in addition to the economic crisis of the early 1990s resulted in the project being cancelled despite 20 million French francs being already spent.


The tower was meant to have a very original design. Having the shape of a cylinder, the base of the tower was to be very dark, becoming more clear as it approached the sky, thus giving the sensation of the tower disappearing. At its base the tower would have gone several levels down below the earth, like a crater, and would have ended with a tuned mass damper absorbing vibrations on its top. Elevators were to be located on the sides, allowing for panoramic views during ascent, and allowing the offices to occupy the centre.

To achieve the impression of the tower just disappearing into the sky, a wide range of material were to be used in its construction: unpolished black granite, anthracite granite, polished mica, polished aluminium, polished stainless-steel, reflective glass, tinted glass, silk-screened glass and finally clear glass. As Jean Nouvel said:

External links

  • Picture and plans of how the building would have looked included in an a 1991 article about the project


  • “Skyscraper design of the recent past and for the near future” by Eric Höweler editions “Thames & Hudson”

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