The architecture of the Eiffel Tower is one of the most renowned and enchanting in the world. It is located in a serene environment on the southern bank of the River Seine, on the Champ de-Mars, in the middle of Paris. The Eiffel Tower was named after its engineer and designer, Alexander Eiffel.
History of the Eiffel Tower
Eiffel Tower is a product of three hundred workers who labored for two years constructing it on a lattice work structure. The tower was created utilizing wrought iron of the finest quality. Stephen Sauvestre, Emile Nouguier and Maurice Koechlin were the architects and engineers who helped Alexander Eiffel design and construct this massive monument.
The design of the Eiffel Tower was mainly based on technical calculations involving wind resistance. The pieces were first smelted in Eiffel’s factory. It took about five months to lay the foundation of the structure. Some accounts claim that special types of cranes were used to move the pieces of wrought iron higher to build the uppermost sections of the tower.
Why It Was Built
The Eiffel Tower was built in the anticipation of the World’s Fair which was scheduled to be held in 1889, in the city of Paris. 1889 was also special to the French as it was the centenary year of the start of the French Revolution. The world’s fair exhibited war material and machines, among other things, and the Eiffel Tower served as its main symbol.
It is said that the Eiffel Tower was constructed as an entrance gate for the fair. Other accounts claim that numerous design proposals were presented to the French authorities but Eiffel’s was selected unanimously.
Why the Tower Still Stands
The Eiffel Tower was officially inaugurated by King Edward VII, who was then Prince of Wales, on March 31, 1889. When the construction work on the tower came to an end, the French flag was hoisted at its peak.
The trade fair held later in 1889 was a major success and many people started taking note of the Eiffel Tower. With time, it started growing as a tourist attraction drawing millions of visitors from across the world each year.
The original tower was constructed on a piece of land which had been under a twenty-year lease in Paris. After the leasing period ended, it was to be dismantled. However, one thing came to its rescue. It was discovered that the Eiffel Tower was useful for communication, especially telegraphs, and hence the tower was retained. Over one hundred and twenty years later, the tower stands tall as one of France’s most prized possession.
During the Battle of Marne, in the First World War, Paris based taxi vehicles used to provide transport services to and from the tower. These vehicles were basically used to carry French troops in the battlefield. This battle later proved to be one of the best victories of French and British against Nazi Germany. As such, the Eiffel Tower is seen not only as a beautiful monument, but also as a powerful symbol of victory.
The Eiffel tower is three hundred and twenty five meters high and its metal structure weighs 10,000 tons. It’s also worth noting that the thermal effect on the tower causes it to shift slightly by about eighteen centimeters. Strong winds also cause it to sway. Currently, there are elevators that are used to help tourist get to the first two of its levels.
Furthermore, the tower needs to be repainted every seven years with some fifty tons of paint to keep it appearing uniform and attractive to its visitors and to protect it from rust. Aside from playing a significant role as a tourist attraction, the tower serves as a commemorative piece. The names of some seventy-two French scientists, prominent social figures and engineers are engraved on different parts of the tower.
The tower boasts a base width of about 412 sq. feet. It has three floors, or platforms, and 1,665 steps. One of the strongest sways recorded due to strong winds hitting the tower is 12 cm.
After its construction, the tower attracted numerous criticisms by people mostly drawn from the art society who saw it as a detestable and ugly piece of construction. One of the most renowned people who came out in public to criticize the Eiffel Tower is a famous French novelist, Guy de Maupassant. He used to only eat his meals in restaurants in Paris from which the Eiffel Tower could not be seen.
Until the early 30s, the Eiffel Tower was ranked as the tallest building in the whole world. Later, it was overtaken by the Chrysler building which was constructed in the United States.
Over time the Tower has been used for many different things. In 1957, a radio antenna was added to the top of the tower. The Eiffel Tower is also presently in use for meteorological and television transmission purposes.
The Eiffel Tower, which is fully owned by the Paris City authorities, remains solidly on top of the list of the World’s most valuable and enthralling pieces of architectural works.