> The Architects of La Défense

Built from the ground up in the 1950s, La Défense soon became both a new city and a modern legend, alongside Brasilia (thanks to architects such as Kubitschek, Oscar Niemeyer and Lúcio Costa from 1956 to 1960) and Chandigarh (with the help of Nehru, Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret from 1950 to 1965). La Défense is above all the fulfillment of the political will to create a business center in post-war France that would rival large European financial districts. This technocratic vision long prevailed. However, it was only the beginning of an architectural story that has since been completed by several visionary developers who entrusted the keys to the city to a handful of pioneering architects.
The reality of this transformation is undoubtedly more complex. It must be examined in different lights, and especially through the eyes of the hundreds of architects who saw their buildings take shape in La Défense, to whom this book pays tribute.
Who are they? Where did they come from? With whom did they join forces? And to realise which programs?
Simon Texier endeavors to answer these questions, while mindful that, from Robert Camelot to Thom Mayne, the story of La Défense’s architecture was not written in a single creative register. From one generation of architects to the next, the “spirit” of La Défense progressively took shape, a spirit we hoped to capture in this work.

The Architects of La Défense - Editions Carré - March 2011, 39,90 €

> Dictionary and Atlas of La Défense

Born over a half a century ago, La Défense is now well established in the Paris Region. The result of post-war ambitions, it lived the Trente Glorieuses (30 boom years) and moved to the rhythm of French society. This dictionary and atlas of La Défense retrace the history of the National Interest Operation from its origins in 1951 to the present, with the construction of the CNIT in 1958 marking the project’s entry in to the collective consciousness.

La Défense, a dictionary
With twenty-eight illustrated entries, A as in “Asphalt”, to Z as in “Zone B,” this dictionary presents La Défense through a collection of documents and photographs, a timeline and a series of historical and thematic maps. (576 pages – 26 €)

La Défense, an atlas
With several hundred maps, the atlas is a great companion to the dictionary. It lends a visual perspective to the history of La Défense. (256 pages – 18 €)

Dictionary and Atlas of La Défense - Editions Parenthèses - December 2012, 44 €