The height limit, announced yesterday, will limit new buildings in the French capital to a height of 37 metres or 12 storeys.
It reinstates the same Parisian planning law that was introduced in 1977 following the construction of Tour Montparnasse, a 210-metre-tall office tower by architects Eugène Beaudouin, Urbain Cassan and Louis Hoym de Marien that was also highly contested.
The 1977 height limit was in place until 2010. It was overturned by former mayor Bertrand Delanoë for a limit of 180 metres for office towers and 50 metres for housing blocks.
The ban has been reintroduced as part of mayor Anne Hidalgo’s Local Bioclimatic Urban Plan, which is aimed at reducing Paris’ carbon emissions.
It was also prompted by the construction of the pyramid-shaped tower Tour Triangle by Herzog & de Meuron, which started in 2021 and is scheduled for completion in 2026.
Its construction, which has faced backlash and was delayed by 12 years due to various legal and planning battles, has become the focus of the council’s drive to limit building heights, alongside the 180- and 125-metre-high Tours Duo skyscrapers by Jean Nouvel.
Once complete, Tour Triangle will be the city’s third tallest building. Its trapezoidal form means that from central Paris it will resemble a thin tower, but from the east and west, its full width will be visible. Inside it will contain a hotel and offices, alongside a conference centre, shops and restaurants.
According to newspaper The Times, the ban is part of a wider “bioclimatic” plan for the city that Hidalgo said aims to ensure Paris remains “attractive and pleasant in coming years despite the acceleration in the temperature”.
It also reported that the fight for the ban was led by Green councillor Émile Meunier.
“They said Paris was naff and needed high towers to compete with London’s city,” Meunier said. “Now it’s the end of towers in Paris.”
On Twitter, Meunier also described the move as “historical”.
“The new local urban plan of Paris marks the end of the towers and returns to a reasonable height,” he wrote.
Elsewhere, China also recently limited the height of buildings in the country. The construction of supertall skyscrapers has been limited to 500 metres, with buildings over 250 metres “strictly restricted”. The new policy, released on the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development’s website, also banned “copycat behaviour” and established the role of chief architects in its cities.
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