Year of construction: 1974. Renovation in 2011
Architects: Pierre Dufau, with Jean-Pierre Dacbert and Michel Stenzel - Kohn, Pedersen Fox Associates and SRA (Saubo, Rouit et Associés) Architects
Surface area: 86,000 sq.m
Height : 231 m. 55 floors
Former names: UAP, Axa, CB31
Address: 1-2, Place des Saisons - 92400 Courbevoie
Nearest car park: Saisons
Nearest metro station: Esplanade
The First Tower is one of the most spectacular renovation operations in La Défense. The First Tower replaces the former Axa Tower and increases its height by inscribing a slender design with a helical structure in the Parisian sky. Raising the existing tower by 50 metres is just one aspect of the technical challenge of this project, which included widening the existing floors and demolishing and rebuilding the central core.
Particular care was taken in its design to ensure the well-being of its future users. The First Tower thus favours volumes free of all obstacles to facilitate exchanges and places the catering areas on the top floors, in first day exhibition. In addition, the choice of ventilated double-skin technology allows, in addition to the thermal performance, to maximize the proportion of glazing in the facade.
The First Tower breaks with its predecessor by installing the entrance hall, maximum diffusion of natural light, opening onto the city. The tapered treatment of its top reinforces its bow image.
A word about the architects
Founded in 1976 by William Pedersen (1938), Eugene Kohn (1930) and Sheldon Fox (1930), Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates continues the tradition of its predecessors Skidmore, Owing and Merrill. Specializing in office towers, it operates worldwide. Since the 1990s, she has designed many "iconic" architectures such as the Adia Tower in Abu Dabi and the Shanghai World Financial Center. In 2012, the agency will complete the Pinnacle Tower in the heart of the City of London. At La Défense, it is involved in three projects: CBX, Logica and First.
SRA Architects was founded in 1996 by Jean Rouit, Hervé Metge and Clémence Fiant-Saubot - daughter of Roger Saubot, Rouit's former employer. The agency quickly specialized in large scale projects in collaboration with the big names in the architectural world.
At La Défense, the firm joined forces with its American counterpart, Kohn Pedersen Fox, for the refurbishment of the Logica (former EDF-GDF tower) and First (former UAP tower) towers, as well as for the construction of the Dexia tower (which became CBX) in 2005. SRA Architects are also involved in projects for the Défense Plaza building, the Carpe Diem tower and the Phare tower (project abandoned in 2015).