Bouygues Bâtiment Ile-de-France, a subsidiary of Bouygues Construction, has handed over the First Tower. Located at La Défense, this refurbishment project is part of a major programme to modernise the La Défense business district seeking to ensure that it continues to appeal to users and investors.

Photo : Laurent Blossier


Teams from Bouygues Bâtiment Ile-de-France handed over roughly a thousand keys and technical literature documenting the construction and operation of the building. The First Tower is owned by Beacon, which will be responsible for both maintenance and sales.

Worth more than €300 million, works began in 2008 and lasted three years, with 1,000 people working on-site at peak periods. Thanks to their commitment to the project, the handover took place with very few reserves and one month ahead of schedule.

Initially comprising three wings and standing 155 metres tall (with 40 storeys above ground), the First Tower has been raised to a height of 230 metres (i.e. a further 10 storeys topped by a 40-metre tall screen). As a result, it has become the tallest building in France. One of the wings has been lowered, to achieve a 10-storey stepped cut-back. Overall floor space has been increased by roughly 10% to 87,000 m2. The entire structure has been reinforced and the building skin rebuilt with roughly 40,000 m² of glazing and curtain walling, including 20,000 m² of naturally ventilated double-skin facade.

Photo : Laurent Blossier

Road traffic complications in the La Défense district added to renovation lead times called for particularly rigorous management of works phasing (cramped storage space, unloading areas, etc.).

The scale and technical complexity of the refurbishment project make this a world first. They required Bouygues Construction to pool its broad range of skills in geotechnical investigations, special foundations, structural design of high-rise buildings, structural steelwork, facades, pre-stressing and renovation.

Forming part of a wide-ranging approach to sustainable development, the First Tower is the only refurbishment project in France on such a scale to have been awarded High Environmental Quality (HQE) certification.

This achievement illustrates Bouygues Construction’s capacity to deliver highly technical projects on schedule. The Group is currently constructing numerous very tall towers around the world, mostly in Asia but also in the Middle East.