Built in 1977 at the outskirts of La Défense business district, the Tours Aillaud are named after their main architect, Emile Aillaud. The housing project represents 18 towers including 1,607 apartments all together. The tallest of those are the Tours 1 and 2 with 39 floors and a height of 105 meters. The Tours 3 to 10 have 20 floors and the Tours 11 to 18 have 13 floors.
Despite the differences in height, the towers share the same shape, consisting of the superposition of several cylinders. Their cladding is made of frescos representing clouds in the sky (in French nuages), which is the origin of their nickname.
“Without respect for the body as it is, social memory as it stands, there is no such thing as a workable or humane architecture. And that’s why a place like this - La Defence outside Paris, is experienced by everybody, including those who live in it, as a piece of social scar tissue, gimmicky, condescending alphaville modernism. Stick ‘em in concrete boxes and give them some concrete to play on, and then paint it all bright colours because that’s what the kiddies like, and if the kiddies don’t like it, they can write to the minister!”
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