As London's Centre Point undergoes a full facelift, another imposing European Modernist tower is scheduled to receive a similar treatment. Tour Montparnasse stands 210 metres above the historic Paris cityscape. Its monochrome facade, simple straight lines, and unprecedented height did not go unnoticed when it was completed in 1973. It sparked a furor among residents, and eventually led to the imposition of a seven-storey maximum height law for new buildings. Though that regulation has been lifted in recent years — office buildings in the core can now climb 180 metres while residential towers are allowed 50 metres — the aversion to tall buildings still lingers in the hearts and minds of Parisians.

Tour Montparnasse dominates the Paris cityscape, image by Flickr user Nacho Rascón via Creative Commons

A complete overhaul of the exterior may attempt to make the skyscraper a little less offensive, while the interior office spaces are renovated and technical installations modernized. The aging structure still contains asbestos, which will need to be removed during the €300 million renovation. The second tallest building in the French capital will also undergo substantial accessibility improvements. 

Tour Montparnasse, image retrieved from Google Street View

Now in the second round of the competition, seven teams in total, many of whom are globally recognized for their extensive bodies of work, are battling it out for the honour of redesigning the infamous landmark. Dominique Perrault Architecture, Architecture Studio, PLP Architecture, The Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), and Studio Gang are each going it alone. The other notable entries involve multiple practices. Chinese architectural experts MAD and French studio DGLA form a team, while French firms Franklin Azzi Architecture, Chartier Dalix, and Hardel-Lebihan Architectes are collaborating, birthing a group called nAOM. The Ensemble Immobilier Tour Maine-Montparnasse (EITMM) selected the teams from the over 700 submissions received.

Tour Montparnasse and the Eiffel Tower, image by Flickr user Christophe PINARD via Creative Commons

The winner of the Tomorrow Montparnasse project will be announced in July 2017, four months after the teams' proposals are submitted. Construction will then begin in 2019 with an expected completion date sometime in 2023. 

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