March 2, 2022
Project #20 in our Centennial Year Celebration of our Top 100 Projects takes us to Paris, France for the Tour Maine-Montparnasse, a high-rise development completed in 1973. For this project, Epstein provided architectural and engineering services for the design of what was Europe's tallest office tower. (The Tour Maine-Montparnasse remained the tallest skyscraper in France until 2011.) At the time of completion, this 3.25 million square foot complex included a 59-story, 1.25 million square foot office tower; 300,000 square foot of retail space; an 11-story textile center; a sports center; theaters and restaurants; and a 1,500-car underground parking garage.
The oval office tower was designed around a central core -- a reinforced concrete "spine" designed to support the structural steel floor girders and withstand lateral wind forces -- that houses 25 high speed elevators, four stairways, restrooms, and mechanical and electrical shafts, a bronze glass and aluminum curtain-wall skins the tower. The office tower has six basement levels and straddles the Paris Metro (subway), which remained in operation during the entire construction period from 1969 to 1973.
The foundations of the tower are made up of 56 reinforced concrete pillars sinking 230 feet underground. Montparnasse had to be built just above the Metro line and to avoid using the same support and weakening it, the Metro structures were protected by a reinforced concrete shield. Long horizontal beams were installed in order to free up the space needed in the basement to fit out the tracks for trains.
This is one of several high-rise office buildings that Epstein helped deliver for the New York-based Collins, Tuttle and Company developers from the 60s through the late 80s.