As It Happens

Controversial 42-storey 'Tour Triangle' skyscraper to be built in Paris

Some have called it a pyramid. Others say it looks like a piece of Toblerone. But as of last week, it's official: a skyscraper will be built in Paris proper, in the 15th arrondissement. It's the first building of its size to go up in decades.

It's the first skyscraper to be built in central Paris in over four decades. The $730-million "Tour Triangle" tower was narrowly approved by Paris' city council, but some residents remained opposed to its construction.

"Paris is not going to become modern because it has a skyscraper somewhere in the middle of nowhere," says Jan Wyers, secretary general of S.O.S. Paris, an organization that focuses on protecting Paris's heritage.

The tower is designed by "starchitects" Herzog & de Meuron, but even a world famous design firm can't quell many Parisians' distaste for tall buildings. Some have called it a pyramid. Others say it looks like a piece of Toblerone.

Critics have compared the Paris "Tour Triangle" to a wedge from a Toblerone. (AP/Cadbury)

"It's certainly no more ugly than other skyscrapers that are being built all around the world," Wyers tells As It Happens guest host Susan Bonner. "Paris is a walkable city. It has little shops, cafes — places where you like to hang out. No one wants to hang out in or near a skyscraper. Look at Manhattan, it's full of skyscrapers, but you can't find many nice, charming cafes at their base."

The last skyscraper of this size to be built in Paris was the Tour Montparnasse in 1973. It is widely regarded by residents as an eyesore.

Tour Montparnasse (left) with the Eiffel Tower in the background. (Jameslwoodward)

Wyers and S.O.S. Paris have held a number of protests and now plan on fighting the "Tour Triangle" building permit.

"If [the Tour Tower] ever gets built, it will not be a conversation piece — except to say that it shouldn't be there," he says.