La Défense

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    This is the westernmost sector of La Défense beyond la Grande Arche at the extremity of the Voie Triomphale , an enclave where curving forms predominate. (There’s a Parisian tradition of diluting the geometric astringency of Modernism with flowing curves as in the Maison de Radio-France completed in 1963.) I’m not immune to the attractions of such an intensely urban experience but despite the smooth and reflective perfection of these curving forms, contrasting visual rhythms and balance of vertical and horizontal elements, the effect remains oppressive. Measuring yourself against the inhuman scale of these façades is a disconcerting experience. The expression of corporate power is crude and unavoidable. These are the products of a science-fiction inspired vision of the future where technology empowers the architect to translate creative fantasy into numbskull reality while flattering the egos of their clients.

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