Total Michelet

Year of construction: 1985
Architects: Jean Willerval, Henri La Fonta, Michel Andrault and Pierre Parat
Surface area : 77 750 sq.m
Height: 120 m 34 floors

Address: 24, Cours Michelet - 92800 Puteaux
Nearest car park: Michelet
Nearest metro station: Esplanade de La Défense

As the only high-rise building in a neighbourhood on a human scale, the Total Michelet tower appears as the legacy of a plan that never saw the light of day. In the early 1970s, a project for twin towers close to the Franklin Tower was indeed planned. But the association of the architects most present at La Défense gave birth to a hybrid building composed of two identical towers linked by a central body.
The façades alternate tinted glass and light-coloured spandrels, underlining, in the same way as the volumetry, the transgressive character of the tower in relation to the other buildings.

A word about the architects

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. In 1977, he founded his own agency. This agency quickly became established, thanks in particular 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 owes him Les Miroirs as well as the Pascal and Voltaire Towers.

Michel Andrault (1926) and Pierre Parat (1928) joined forces in 1957 and for nearly forty years occupied a prominent place on the French architectural scene. In 1985, they entered La Défense and, along with Henry La Fonta, became the most influential architects on the site. They accompanied its transformation over nearly ten years and signed several master plans. In terms of projects, Michel Andrault and Pierre Parat are involved in around ten projects, including the restructuring of the CNIT and the Société Générale towers.

Jean Willerval (1924-1996) began his career in 1959, mainly in his native Nord-Pas-de-Calais region. His first notable artworks include the Saint-Jean-Bosco church in Mons-en-Baroeul and the Lille courthouse. At La Défense, Jean Willerval began with a project that came first in the consultation for Tête Défense in 1980 but was not completed. In 1984, he returned to the prisms of the 1920s for the Allianz One Tower. The same year, he co-signed the Descartes Tower with Fernando Urquijo and Giorgio Macola. In association with Bernard Lamy, he is in charge of the Gan Eurocourtage tower. After a long interruption, his son Bruno Willerval took over the project.