Paris's 'Pyramid Project' casts no shadow

Herzog and de Meuron/AP
An artist's rendition of the 'Project Triangle' building from the front.

The architects at Herzog & de Meuron have unveiled their new vision for the Paris skyline: a blade-like skyscraper designed to play with shadows.

Fresh off its well-received design for the Olympic "Bird's Nest" stadium in Beijing, the architecture firm has mocked up another striking building. The front looks like a glass pyramid shining over southern Paris. But from the side, the glittering building is thin, like a tall icicle pointing toward the sky. (Check out the two artist renderings above.)

Beyond its aesthetic presence, the two-faced tower has a bit of a gimmick. The architects claim that through carefully design and positioning, the skyscraper "does not cast shadows on adjacent buildings."

Parisians' reactions to this proposed landmark are mixed -- much as they were with the glass pyramid in front of the Louvre when it first went up. Some welcome it as a reminder to the architecture world that "avant-garde" is a French term. Others, as the Boston Globe put it, would "rather see it not casting its shadows in Dubai, where it might fit in better."

I’m not sure it rivals the quirkiness of Dubai’s twirling tower. But the curious design will no doubt attract tourist attention to the Porte de Versailles upon the building's scheduled completion in 2014.

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