Maison de La Défense
Year of construction: 1983
Architect: Henri La Fonta
Surface area: 21,000 sq.m
Height: 21 m. 5 floors
Address: 1-14, Place de La Défense - 92400 Courbevoie
Nearest car park: Centre
Nearest metro station: La Défense Grande Arche
The Maison de La Défense is one of the lowest and longest buildings (250 m) in the business district. Although most of the buildings act as gates, the challenge here is to frame the esplanade, hence the portico providing a pedestrian link between the square and the Place de la Coupole. The simplicity of the building's volumes is enriched by a very assertive modenature with lacquered cast aluminium troughs encasing the semi-reflective glass glazing. The glazing is designed to reflect the shapes and colours of Calder's Red Spider. The ensemble thus evokes the minimalist artwork of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and the systemic work of Jean Dubuisson.
A word about the architect
Before becoming an architect, Henri La Fonta first tried his hand at sculpture and painting. However, his training at the Camondo School led him to architecture. He gained his first experience in 1951 in Morocco as a collaborator and then returned to Paris in the 1960s. There, he worked for several design offices.
In 1977, he founded his own agency. This agency quickly established itself thanks to the creativity and conceptual rigour he demonstrated in his work. At La Défense, Henri La Fonta is, from the 1980s, the main instigator of the renewal of office buildings. The business district also owes him Les Miroirs as well as the Pascal and Voltaire Towers.