Saturday, October 29, 2011

La Tour Zamansky

It will come as no surprise to you that I like the university campus at Jussieu. Like many bold works of architecture, the campus engendered much controversy. It was never completed as originally planned, but it has been enlarged and renovated since its initial opening in 1971.

The Zamansky Tower seen from the rue de Jussieu.

The centerpiece of the campus is the Zamansky Tower, a twenty-nine floor glass tower that rises elegantly above the grid of the laboratories and classrooms below. Unfortunately, the campus was not very well maintained and it became somewhat of an eyesore; the buildings were covered in ugly graffiti for decades. It was not a particularly inviting place when I lived nearby in 1981.

At the end of the 1990s, the university and the education ministry adopted a plan to rehabilitate and modernize the campus. The tower was totally gutted in the early 2000s to remove asbestos while the grid buildings below were cleaned up and completely renovated. From my limited point of view, looking from the outside, the renovation is a success. I don't have any experience of the place from the inside.

The campus is built on the site of Paris' old central wine market (1666), which itself was built on the site of the medieval Abbey Saint-Victor de Paris (1109). The abbey was a university of sorts in its time, training young men in arts and sciences and letters, until its decline in the Renaissance.

Paris' Fifth Arrondissement, also known as the Latin Quarter. Click to latinate.

You can see the campus in the screenshot (Google Maps) of the Latin Quarter above. The very distinctive grid of the buildings, with the tower inside, is visible in the lower right of the image. On the lower left, you can see the cross-shaped Panthéon and its dome, and at the top, just left of center, you can see the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris.

9 comments:

  1. I would love to see this! Great images. Thanks. So sorry about the combination of head cold and bad back. One would be bad enough. I can only imagine what those coughs must feel like. Hope you're back to feeling better soon!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Aw, Walt, I feel so sorry for you. What a bad combination. Hope you get relief soon.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow, resembles the NY World Trade towers.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'd like to have a look around that area sometime.

    I hope your cold and back ache leave soon.
    WV=founk which says it all;-(

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hard to cough when your back hurts. Get well soon!

    Verification word is "proglyma." Is that a disease?

    ReplyDelete
  6. And the next verification word is "vorible." Is the verification imp reading your Newsiness post?

    ReplyDelete
  7. I never stop being amazed by Google. Hope you'll get over the cold quickly.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Poor Walt, you don't deserve such bad luck with your health. I do hope things improve soon.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Fascinating Walt. Thanks again for sharing.

    ReplyDelete

Pour your heart out! I'm listening.