On the Twentieth Century, Skyscrapers were conceived as an optimal way to organize working spaces. Office
plans piled up one over the other so the efficiency in movement and communications became the best possible.
However, today the tower typology has transcended the functional boundaries and other activities such as
housing, retail or recreation have occupied these buildings.
Nowadays, skyscrapers that combine residential units with offices and hotels are common in big cities
agendas. Especially French cities have become the target for many multi-use tower proposals. This is the case
of the Grenelle tower that combines offices, residential units and recreational spaces in a 200m high building in
the center of Paris. These spaces coexist not only inside the tower but also on the same levels. The author of
the project, A/ZC Architects, states that “all the richness of the city is transposed vertically into towers of
Images: A/ZC Architecture
Also in Paris, Abalos+Sentkiewicz proposes a tower that combines housing, parking, offices, commercial,
education, culture, sports and a hotel into a total area of 24,000 m2. The project, as a punctual intervention,
aims to transform radically the complex and degraded surrounded area.
Finally, La Tour Vivante by SOA proposes a skyscraper that includes housing, offices, retail space and vertical
farm in the French city of Rennes. The project explores the idea of including a productive landscape into a
dense urban fabric and reducing the distance between the places of consumption and those of production.
Nevertheless, none of these projects have been started and we will have to wait still some time to see the
results of these proposals. Personally, I believe these buildings have a lot of potential as urban catalyst and
therefore, as city-makers.