The Eiffel Tower is France’s most famous building. In fact, it just might be the most famous building in Europe, having attracted more than 200 million visitors. The intention wasn’t for it to be permanent, however, but thanks to an openness to new technology, it still stands tall today. The tower’s starts with The Universal Exhibition, which was held in France in 1889. The purpose of the exhibition was to celebrate contemporary achievement to coincide with the first French Revolution’s centenary. The government in France held a contest that asked people to mock up an “iron tower” to stand at the entrance of the Champ-de-Mars exhibition, with part of the reason to create an experience that would impress upon visitors. Entrepreneur and engineer Gustav Eiffel won out of the 107 entries after he was assisted by engineers Emile Nouguier and Maurice Koechlin, and architect Stephen Sauvestre. They won due to a winningness to show innovation and create an authentic statement of intent for the country.
The world’s tallest building
The Eiffel Tower would be unlike anything that had been built so far. At the time, the 300-metre, man-made structure was the tallest in the world and was built on a material (wrought iron), which is closely associated with the industrial revolution. The nature and design of the material allowed the tower to be “see-through” and light, as opposed to a solid block while retaining its strength. Its construction was relatively inexpensive, swift, and achieved with a small team. The Eiffel Tower was constructed in 1887 with more than two million rivets and 18,038 pieces.
Today, the structure is regarded as a milestone in construction and design, a modern masterpiece, and the beginning of a new building revolution. There was opposition at the time, however, including people who were less than pleased with the aesthetic implications of a structure so large on the Champ-de-Mars. Others were also sceptical over its potential. The fact is that this new approach was always going to be with problems. Eiffel fought his case well, however, and it was confirmed that the tower would go ahead. All that was needed now was for the structure to work.
Eiffel climbed right to the top of his own tower in 1889 at the opening of the building, with a number of notables following him up. The tower, which was the tallest building in the world until the completion of New York’s Chrysler Building in 1929, remains Paris’ tallest structure. The planning and building were successful, and the tower impressed. The tower was only meant to stand for 20 years, but well over a century later, it’s still going strong, partly due to Eiffel’s openness for the tower to be used in wireless telegraphy innovations and experiments, enabling antennas to be mounted. Since the tower was constructed, it’s achieved a long-lasting impact on Parisian and French culture. It appears then that the tower, which ranks among the world’s most well-known structures, seen in countless movies and television shows, is here to stay.