Why Was The Arc de Triomphe Wrapped
The Arc de Triomphe is a monument located in Paris, France, commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1806 to honor the French military forces. It has become an iconic symbol of France and its history, visited by millions of tourists every year. However, recently it was shrouded in a giant white canvas wrap, provoking curiosity and questions among Parisians and visitors alike. What could be the reason for wrapping this historic monument? This article aims to answer those questions and explore the reasons why the Arc de Triomphe was made to disappear.
The giant wrap covering the Arc de Triomphe was part of a restoration project, aiming to repair and protect the 181-year-old monument. Large billboards and signs usually cover parts of the Arc de Triomphe, resulting in water being trapped in the cracks of the stone, causing erosion and damaging the stonework. The restoration project- part of the Grand Paris project- sought to protect the Arc de Triomphe from further damage. The 60-meter tall canvas wrap was meant to not just protect the stone from water, but create an adjusted temperature of 14˚c inside the wrap, thus slowing down the ageing process of the stone.
Experts, including Maryam Yoa, an architect and Urban Designer who works for the Paris based firm Édifice Architecture and Engineering, were consulted on the project. Yoa said the restoration of the Arc de Triomphe is part of a larger “Renouveau” (renewal) of the city, which seeks to protect and maintain the city’s iconic monuments. In addition, Yoa commented on the giant wrap, noting it was “a radical step to protect the monument” while allowing the stones to be exposed to the sun and wind.
The massive wrap was not the only aspect of the restoration process. A 3D scan of the entire monument was undertaken before and after the project, which allowed for examples of even the slightest damage to be seen by experts. Additionally, 70,000 beeswax injections were used to support the hollow parts of the stone, lending it greater protection.
Given its broad project scope, the restoration of the Arc de Triomphe was complex and expensive. It was carried out by no less than 11 firms, ran over the period of two years and costed 17.3 million euros. This huge financial investment of the project reflects the importance of preserving the Arc de Triomphe in the eyes of the French government.
The Arc de Triomphe is not the only monument in Paris to have been wrapped in a protective shroud. In addition, the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower have also had their respective parts covered during the Grand Paris project. The wrap of the Arc de Triomphe fittingly adds to the monumental-scale of the project, being the largest of the three separately covered monuments with a footprint of 330 square meters.
It can be questioned why such a costly project was needed in the first place. After all, the Arc de Triomphe had stood the test of time for over two centuries before being partially wrapped in a shroud. The answer lies in the industrialization of Paris and its consequent urban developments. The increase of intensive traffic in the vicinity of the Arc de Triomphe resulted in dust deposits, meaning the monument was subject to an increasingly polluted environment that endangered it.
The Paris city government had no choice but to put out a call for tender, in order to secure the restoration of the Arc de Triomphe. Fortunately, its citizens now have the opportunity to explore the historic monument in its original beauty, with those involved in the project aspiring to make the Arc de Triomphe “far more beautiful and secure.”
Protecting the Stones Through Beeswax Injections
In addition to the large wrap, preserving the Arc de Triomphe involved engaging in other intricate processes in order to make sure the stones were more protected. A key process entailed carrying out 70,000 beeswax injections, which were meant to fill the hollow spaces and support the weak parts of the stonework. This technique has been use in the past for other historical monuments, and the Paris city government used it for the Arc de Triomphe in order to solidify the structure and make it more durable in the long run.
Apart from this, specialists used equipment such as cleaning scrapes and laser cleaners to remove dust and lichen. This process was carefully monitored, making sure the solutions used to clean the stones did not have a damaging effect on the historical stone. Using cleaner materials allowed for a greater precision in order to rid the monument of assorted pollutants.
Finally, restoration experts made use of mechanical adapters to hold certain stones in place. This was mainly done with those stones that had detached over time due to weathering. With the help of special machinery, they were able to drill special anchor holes in the stones and place silicon plugs inside to secure them.
Solution Through 3D Scanning
Experts also used 3D Scanning in order to gather more detailed information about the state of the Arc de Triomphe during the restoration period. Not only was it meant to inspect the stone before the restoration was carried out, but also to compare it to current scans after the works were completed. This allowed for any changes, no matter how slight, in the structure of the monument’s stone to be noticed, enabling specialists to even identify seemingly inconspicuous cracks in the stonework.
Apart from being a useful analysis tool, 3D scanning was also used as a source of inspiration of the restoration. According to some records, the Arc de Triomphe included elements of contemporary taste when it was first built, including neoclassical features. Chief architect Jean-Francois Blondel hence consulted 3D scans to integrate back some of the Arc de Triomphe’s originally intended features.
In addition, laser scanning allowed experts to gather data to build three-dimensional representations. 3D prints have been used around the world for specialized architectural aims, and came in handy for the Arc de Triomphe as experts sought to evaluate the monument’s stone before and after the restoration.
Preserving Paris’ Identity
Preserving the Arc de Triomphe is part of a greater effort known as Renouveau, taking place in Paris. This aim is motivated by preserving Paris’ iconic monuments and guaranteeing its citizens the opportunity to experience them in their original beauty.
This need for preservation is made all the more pertinent due to the massive influx of tourists Paris annually attracts. Therefore, it is important for the French government to protect their monuments from potential dame, such as the dust provoked by the traffic of the city, and intense tourism.
The metropolitan area of Paris, known as the Grand Paris is a project that sees collaboration from multiple private and public sectors to protect the city’s monuments from contamination and possible destruction. This is reflected in the wrapping of the Arc de Triomphe, which is part of the longer-term goal of renovating and protecting the city’s monument.
The Significance of the Grand Paris Project
The Grand Paris project is an attempt to regenerate and expand Paris, protecting it through the preservation of its iconic monuments and structures. While this involves providing Parisians with new infrastructure, it is just as important to preserve and maintain the existing monuments of the city. This involves injecting funds and time into various enterprises, such as the wrapping of the Arc de Triomphe, but ultimately pays off through the preservation of Paris’ worldwide reputation as a “cultural and touristic reference point.”
The success of the Grand Paris project reflects the modernity of Paris and its commitment to continuing legacy projects. Renouveau is a project that will assuredly boost Paris’ economy, as more tourists and businesspeople look to take advantage of the new infrastructure. The wrapping of the Arc de Triomphe is part of realizing the Grand Paris project, aiming to make the city the best it can be for its inhabitants.
The Economic Value of the Grand Paris Project
The Grand Paris project also adds significant economic value to Paris. The wrapping of the Arc de Triomphe is part of the 17.3 million euro investment into the Renouveau project. This money sources from both public and private sectors, with the latter serving as a way to create employment opportunities and build the city’s economy. It also serves as a means to maintain Paris’ tourism industry, with the preservation of monuments such as the Arc de Triomphe being a strong magnet to bring in international visitors willing to witness and explore these historic monuments.
The economic value of Renouveau is widely recognized, with the project’s financing being spread over around 47 countries worldwide. Financial backing is also provided by European Union bodies such as the European Investment Bank and the European Regional Development Fund. Therefore, the Grand Paris project serves as an international effort, with many countries recognizing the importance of preserving Paris’ iconic monuments, the Arc de Triomphe in particular.
The Protection of the Arc de Triomphe
Wrapping the Arc de Triomphe is part of the Renouveau project which will benefit Paris in the short and long term. The preservation of monuments such as the Arc de Triomphe lies in finding a balance between respecting the monument and making it accessible for tourism. Without this, the city risk degrading in its charm and appeal, making continued preservation all the more important.
The Arc de Triomphe’s restoration- part of the Grand Paris project- was expensive and intensive, with no less than 11 firms involved. However, it is an investment that will protect the structural integrity of the monument, allowing it to stand strong in the decades to come. It is a project that aims to guarantee Paris’ citizens and visitors the opportunity to explore the city’s iconic monuments as intended.