View of the Eiffel Tower / Tour Eiffel

Buckwhite

Joined April 2008

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View of the Eiffel Tower, taken from the 56th floor of the Tour Montparnasse.
Paris France

Views – 501 02/06/2017

Eiffel Tower is located in Paris
Record height – Tallest in the world from 1889 to 1930
General information
Location 7th arrondissement, Paris, France
Construction started – 28 January 1887 – Completed – 15 March 1889
Opening – 31 March 1889 (127 years ago)
Owner – City of Paris, France
Management Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel (SETE)
Height
Architectural 300 m (984 ft)
Tip – 324 m (1,063 ft)1 – Top floor – 276 m (906 ft)
Technical details
Floor count – 3 – Lifts/elevators – 8
Design and construction – Architect Stephen Sauvestre
Structural engineer Maurice Koechlin – Émile Nouguier
Main contractor Compagnie des Etablissements Eiffel

The Eiffel Tower (/ˈaɪfəl ˈtaʊər/ eye-fəl towr; French: Tour Eiffel, pronounced: [tuʁ‿ɛfɛl] Is a wrought iron lattice tower on the Champ de Mars in Paris, France. It is named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower.

Constructed from 1887–89 as the entrance to the 1889 World’s Fair, it was initially criticized by some of France’s leading artists and intellectuals for its design, but it has become a global cultural icon of France and one of the most recognisable structures in the world. The Eiffel Tower is the most-visited paid monument in the world; 6.91 million people ascended it in 2015.

The tower is 324 metres (1,063 ft) tall, about the same height as an 81-storey building, and the tallest structure in Paris. Its base is square, measuring 125 metres (410 ft) on each side. During its construction, the Eiffel Tower surpassed the Washington Monument to become the tallest man-made structure in the world, a title it held for 41 years until the Chrysler Building in New York City was finished in 1930. Due to the addition of a broadcasting aerial at the top of the tower in 1957, it is now taller than the Chrysler Building by 5.2 metres (17 ft). Excluding transmitters, the Eiffel Tower is the second-tallest structure in France after the Millau Viaduct.

The tower has three levels for visitors, with restaurants on the first and second levels. The top level’s upper platform is 276 m (906 ft) above the ground – the highest observation deck accessible to the public in the European Union. Tickets can be purchased to ascend by stairs or lift (elevator) to the first and second levels. The climb from ground level to the first level is over 300 steps, as is the climb from the first level to the second. Although there is a staircase to the top level, it is usually only accessible by lift.

History – Origin
The design of the Eiffel Tower was the product of Maurice Koechlin and Émile Nouguier, two senior engineers working for the Compagnie des Établissements Eiffel, after discussion about a suitable centrepiece for the proposed 1889 Exposition Universelle, a world’s fair to celebrate the centennial of the French Revolution. Eiffel openly acknowledged that inspiration for a tower came from the Latting Observatory built in New York City in 1853. In May 1884, working at home, Koechlin made a sketch of their idea, described by him as “a great pylon, consisting of four lattice girders standing apart at the base and coming together at the top, joined together by metal trusses at regular intervals”. Eiffel initially showed little enthusiasm, but he did approve further study, and the two engineers then asked Stephen Sauvestre, the head of company’s architectural department, to contribute to the design. Sauvestre added decorative arches to the base of the tower, a glass pavilion to the first level, and other embellishments.

First drawing of the Eiffel Tower by Maurice Koechlin including size comparison with other Parisian landmarks such as Notre Dame de Paris, the Statue of Liberty and the Vendôme Column
The new version gained Eiffel’s support: he bought the rights to the patent on the design which Koechlin, Nougier, and Sauvestre had taken out, and the design was exhibited at the Exhibition of Decorative Arts in the autumn of 1884 under the company name. On 30 March 1885, Eiffel presented his plans to the Société des Ingénieurs Civils; after discussing the technical problems and emphasising the practical uses of the tower, he finished his talk by saying the tower would symbolise,

Not only the art of the modern engineer, but also the century of Industry and Science in which we are living, and for which the way was prepared by the great scientific movement of the eighteenth century and by the Revolution of 1789, to which this monument will be built as an expression of France’s gratitude.

Little progress was made until 1886, when Jules Grévy was re-elected as president of France and Édouard Lockroy was appointed as minister for trade. A budget for the exposition was passed and, on 1 May, Lockroy announced an alteration to the terms of the open competition being held for a centrepiece to the exposition, which effectively made the selection of Eiffel’s design a foregone conclusion, as entries had to include a study for a 300 m (980 ft) four-sided metal tower on the Champ de Mars. On 12 May, a commission was set up to examine Eiffel’s scheme and its rivals, which, a month later, decided that all the proposals except Eiffel’s were either impractical or lacking in details.

After some debate about the exact location of the tower, a contract was signed on 8 January 1887. This was signed by Eiffel acting in his own capacity rather than as the representative of his company, and granted him 1.5 million francs toward the construction costs: less than a quarter of the estimated 6.5 million francs. Eiffel was to receive all income from the commercial exploitation of the tower during the exhibition and for the next 20 years. He later established a separate company to manage the tower, putting up half the necessary capital himself.

Artists’ protest
Caricature of Gustave Eiffel comparing the Eiffel tower to the Pyramids
The proposed tower had been a subject of controversy, drawing criticism from those who did not believe it was feasible and those who objected on artistic grounds. These objections were an expression of a long-standing debate in France about the relationship between architecture and engineering. It came to a head as work began at the Champ de Mars: a “Committee of Three Hundred” (one member for each metre of the tower’s height) was formed, led by the prominent architect Charles Garnier and including some of the most important figures of the arts, such as Adolphe Bouguereau, Guy de Maupassant, Charles Gounod and Jules Massenet. A petition called “Artists against the Eiffel Tower” was sent to the Minister of Works and Commissioner for the Exposition, Charles Alphand, and it was published by Le Temps on 14 February 1887:

We, writers, painters, sculptors, architects and passionate devotees of the hitherto untouched beauty of Paris, protest with all our strength, with all our indignation in the name of slighted French taste, against the erection … of this useless and monstrous Eiffel Tower … To bring our arguments home, imagine for a moment a giddy, ridiculous tower dominating Paris like a gigantic black smokestack, crushing under its barbaric bulk Notre Dame, the Tour Saint-Jacques, the Louvre, the Dome of les Invalides, the Arc de Triomphe, all of our humiliated monuments will disappear in this ghastly dream. And for twenty years … we shall see stretching like a blot of ink the hateful shadow of the hateful column of bolted sheet metal.

A calligram by Guillaume Apollinaire
Gustave Eiffel responded to these criticisms by comparing his tower to the Egyptian pyramids: “My tower will be the tallest edifice ever erected by man. Will it not also be grandiose in its way? And why would something admirable in Egypt become hideous and ridiculous in Paris?” These criticisms were also dealt with by Édouard Lockroy in a letter of support written to Alphand, ironically saying,[ “Judging by the stately swell of the rhythms, the beauty of the metaphors, the elegance of its delicate and precise style, one can tell this protest is the result of collaboration of the most famous writers and poets of our time”, and he explained that the protest was irrelevant since the project had been decided upon months before, and construction on the tower was already under way.

Indeed, Garnier was a member of the Tower Commission that had examined the various proposals, and had raised no objection. Eiffel was similarly unworried, pointing out to a journalist that it was premature to judge the effect of the tower solely on the basis of the drawings, that the Champ de Mars was distant enough from the monuments mentioned in the protest for there to be little risk of the tower overwhelming them, and putting the aesthetic argument for the tower: “Do not the laws of natural forces always conform to the secret laws of harmony?”[

Some of the protesters changed their minds when the tower was built; others remained unconvinced. Guy de Maupassant supposedly ate lunch in the tower’s restaurant every day because it was the one place in Paris where the tower was not visible.

By 1918, it had become a symbol of Paris and of France after Guillaume Apollinaire wrote a nationalist poem in the shape of the tower (a calligram) to express his feelings about the war against Germany. Today, it is widely considered to be a remarkable piece of structural art, and is often featured in films and literature.

Source: Wikipedia

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