Place de La Défense

Place de La Défense

A major public space of approximately 20,000 sq.m. in the heart of the La Défense district, on the historic axis, Place de La Défense provides the transition between the square in front of the Grande Arche and the General de Gaulle esplanade.

Aerial view - Place de La Défense © Paris La Défense

Surrounded by the monumental works of Calder and Miró, the Place de La Défense is the nerve centre of the business district, located between a square where tens of thousands of employees pass each other and the General de Gaulle esplanade, which lives at the calmer pace of the walkers. This square is the scene of many events and festivities. Located between the office towers, restaurants and the Westfield - Les Quatre Temps shopping centre, Place de La Défense is also a place of relaxation and conviviality thanks to its lawn.

Architecturally, Place de La Défense will evolve and reassert itself in a more plant-like, attractive and stylish dimension. To echo the existing lawn, two gardens and a green area around the glass roof will be created, complemented by a misting system that will refresh the air in hot weather. Finally, the flooring will be unified, the square will be levelled and the lighting reconfigured in order to simplify and fluidify pedestrian and PRM traffic, particularly at the exit of public transport.

On the technical level, the project consists of the complete renovation of the waterproofing and floor coverings, the overall urban and landscape redesign, and finally the reconfiguration of the lighting and street furniture.

Objectives and challenges

The project aims to :

  • Correct all technical problems (waterproofing, coating, networks, recovery of surface water...) ;
  • Restore coherence, legibility and attractiveness to the place;
  • Rediscover visual continuity and circulation between the square and the square, while redefining its contours and marking its status on the main road;
  • To perpetuate the square's artistic and event-based vocation and optimise the conditions for hosting events and activities;
  • Simplify and fluidify pedestrian traffic, particularly at the RER exit, and improve access for people with reduced mobility.
  • To plant a square that is now very mineral by creating two gardens and a green area around the glass roof.
  • Highlighting the major works of art that frame it

One event place and four living spaces

The square offers 20,000 sq. m. of square space bordered by the Westfield Les 4 Temps shopping centre on one side and the Maison de La Défense on the other.

Ground plan - Place de La Défense 2020 © Agence Base

Here are the 5 spaces of the future square :

  • The central square of 4,000 sq.m. will offer a levelled floor with a more adapted and unified covering, rhythmed by lines, echoing those of the Parvis. The concrete poured in place, then sanded down, will reveal colourful details and brass inlaid stars. Mist cracks will refresh passers-by in the summer. Access to the car park will be improved by raising the height of the lifts. Regularly the scene of numerous events and festivities, the square will have all the assets to reinforce its primary vocation: to be the beating heart of the area.

  • Reframed and completely rebuilt, the large lawn of almost 2,000 sq.m. will plunge visitors into a more plant-like atmosphere.

Position the white centre line to cover the forward/pregressive evolution.

  • The living space around Calder's Araignée Rouge [Red Spider]: the work of art will rise up in the middle of a green area, characterised by high vegetation which can be planted there. The area will thus be planted with coloured essences in warm shades, echoing the sculpture, and new, more numerous seats will be installed.

Position the white centre line to cover the forward/pregressive evolution.

Position the white centre line to cover the forward/pregressive evolution.

  • The living area on the side of the glass roof (glass roof located above the Cœur Transport station) will be decorated with new shrubs, creating a green setting. A misting system will complete the new arrangements.

Position the white centre line to cover the forward/pregressive evolution.

Completely reconfigured, the lighting of the square will simplify and fluidify pedestrian traffic as well as that of people with reduced mobility, particularly at the exit of public transport. The 18 masts will be replaced by 8 high floodlights (14 and 18 metres high), which will provide lighting all the way to the centre of the square.

Phasing of the works

The initial works were carried out in phases and by sector, starting with the peripheral areas of the square and finishing with the central part. Traffic will therefore be maintained throughout the works. The first stage, from March 2021 to July 2022, will involve reconfiguring the northern area around the Maison de La Défense and Calder's red spider, as well as an area around the RATP glass roof, with work taking place at night so as not to interrupt access to Cœur Transport during the day. Today, it's the central square that is being renovated as the final phase of the project. In September 2023, employees and residents alike will be able to enjoy a renovated square with new plants and street furniture.