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Hélène Solvay on La Grande Arche
4 March, 2021
A non-fiction narrative description of the journey from conception to construction of the Parisian monument La Grande Arche de la Défense. Through a series of interviews and extensive research, the author recounts and condenses the complexity of all aspects of state-funded, large-scale architectural projects – a fragile balance between beauty, technique, politics, and finance. Cossé opposes two key characters: the poetic and enigmatic Danish architect Johan Otto von Spreckelsen, winner of the design competition, and the rigid and convoluted French administration, with its associated egos. It is both a detailed account and an evocative tale of the trials and tribulations of a grand project.