A challenge laid down for the architects of the time, that’s how this project starts. To build a 300 meter tall iron tower (980 ft.) for the 1989 Universal Exhibition. A crazy record that seems impossible to beat using the contemporary technology of that time.
However, a man named Gustave Eiffel rises to the challenge. He starts the colossal construction of the Great Iron Lady. He is in charge of the technical details and Stephen Sauvestre is summoned to deal with the aesthetic parts.
In numbers, the Eiffel Tower’s construction, consists of:
- 18,038 metal pieces,
- 5,300 blueprints,
- 50 engineers and artists,
- 150 workers in Levallois-Perret’s factory,
- Between 150 to 300 workers on-site,
- 2,500,000 rivets,
- 7,300 tons of iron,
- 60 tons of paint,
- 2 years 2 months and 5 days of work,
- and 5 elevators.
In addition to being a gargantuan project, it’s also a controversial piece. Artists of the period gather in a text a “Protest against M. Eiffel’s Tower”, which was published in the newspaper Le Temps against the construction of the “Useless and horrendous Eiffel Tower”. The Tower, according to them, goes against everything Paris represents in terms of beauty, architecture and arts. In response, Gustave Eiffel wrote that the beauty of the tower lies in the meticulousness of its construction, its incredible durability and in the harmony of its shape.
In the end, the success of the Tower during the Universal Exhibition, with more than 2 millions visitors silenced the critics. After almost 130 years of history, the Iron Lady has become the symbol of France. And she is still visited by more than 7 million people per year. And you, have you ever visited the Eiffel Tower? What is your favorite Parisian monument?