The name of the district comes from the statue named The La Defense of Paris and set up in the glory of the soldiers having defended the city during the French-German war of 1870. This sculpture of bronze Louis-Ernest Barrias, inaugurated in 1883 on what was the traffic circle of Courbevoie, is always visible in its initial location today, although the traffic circle where it was implanted disappeared.
Always in the course of development, The La Defense covers fifty years of architecture. We can group the constructions of the business district according to their age. Every generation of tower reflects the priorities of periods in the course of which they were born.
The first generation: :
The foreground of development of The La Defense (800 000 m² of offices set up in 1964, recommend a construction of towers,at the same height. The reserved dimensions are 24 by 42 meters on the basis on 100 meters high, corresponding to a tower about thirty floors.
Nobel Tower (current RTE Nexity - 1st tower, Aurore, the Atlantic Ocean and EDF is born.
Today, numerous are the towers of the first generation to have been renewed.
The second generation:
At the beginning of the 70s, to answer an increasing demand of new surfaces of offices, the State decides to increase the park of The La Defense in 1.5 millions of m² of offices.
The towers of the 2nd generation so win in height modifying the landscape of The La Defense.
Areva, Gan, Ariane.
The third generation:
The 80s mark the relaunching of The La Defense after the period of economic crisis, they correspond to the towers of the 3rd generation. Oil crisis obliges, the standards of constructions are revised in the economy, nevertheless, it gives rise to a bigger architectural diversity.
Towers are characterized by a smaller size, they are less high, less wide and meet the requirements of energy saving: tower Pascal, Tower Voltaire, district Michelet.
The tower Elf (current Total) is an exception, its height was planned equal to that of the tower Fiat (current Areva), and it will afterward be considered as the tower symbol of the 3rd generation.
In 1981, the Shopping mall ‘Les 4 Temps’ , the biggest of Europe, is inaugurated.
In 1989, the Big Arc of The La Defense is born, it puts a new milestone on the Historic Axis of Paris.
The new generation :
The inauguration of the Big Arc opens the business district of The La Defense towards the international and leads to the elaboration of new projects.
Due to the lack of surfaces, towers,ballots build themselves in not fitted out spaces and so have to adapt themselves to the shape of grounds (curves, narrow-mindedness).
Towers are so characterized by their original forms: Société Générale, the Hills of the Arc, the EDF, Heart La Defense …
The La Defense enters today for a period of revival. The reconstruction of the former towers and the realization of new constructions are going to redraw the business district.
Architectural boldness, technological innovations, and functional mixing will be the key words of this new life, determinedly placed under the sign of the sustainable development.