When it comes to the world of construction, steel has become the primary material that is used to create some of the world’s most ambitious feats of engineering and architecture. In the Philippines, steel has helped bring some of the country’s largest building projects to life, with some of the biggest construction projects of the past few years utilizing heavy amounts of the material.
Throughout the years, we have seen numerous marvels of construction that have utilized steel, some of which have become iconic landmarks recognized the world over. One of these marvels is France’s own Eiffel Tower, which has become one of the country’s most recognizable structures and symbols. Its iconic status has made it arguably the most well-known steel structure in the world.
Let us take a look at this marvel of engineering and architecture, and how it became that icon that it is today.
In 1889, France was not only celebrating the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution, but they were also the host of the World’s Fair, which is an event that showcased some of the world’s most important achievements and innovations of that time, becoming huge cultural exhibitions that promoted a diverse array of cultures that is still happening today.
The structure that would become the iconic tower was a part of the 100 submissions by artists across France, with the goal of having their design become the monument that would become one of the main symbols and attractions of the fair. Eventually, the design that was chosen to be built was from Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, an architect who has had a successful history of building bridges.
Along with Eiffel, Maurice Koechlin is another person that aided in the design of the tower, helping shape up the structure to what it would eventually become, despite his early concepts being rejected. Eventually, the final design would take two years to be built, and used more than 18,000 pieces of puddle iron, which is a form of construction steel, millions of rivets to connect pieces together, and a few hundred workers.
Once the construction has been finished, the Eiffel tower stood at 1000 feet, making it the world’s tallest structure at that time, holding the record until the completion of the Chrysler Building in 1930. Containing three levels, the tower can be accessed using stairs or the surrounding elevators present in the area. While the structure was initially well-received by the visitors of the World’s Fair, there was a sizeable opposition from the people of Paris themselves. Some people wanted the tower to be dismantled, as they said that the tower would only negatively impact the city’s aesthetic, and saw it as an eyesore that would only hurt the image of Paris as a whole.
Along with the complaints by Parisians, the tower was only intended to be a temporary structure that would be dismantled after at least 20 years. Despite the complaints and the intended scrapping, the tower remains to stand, as the country also saw its value as a radio tower. This became crucial during the First World War, as the tower was able to intercept German radio signals. During the Second World War, after the city has been captured by Germany, there were intentions of scrapping the tower under the orders of Adolf Hitler, although the plans never came into fruition. Despite the devastating two World Wars that have happened, the tower remained standing proud over the city of Paris, becoming one of the country’s national symbols in the process.
While there was initial uproar upon its construction, The Eiffel tower remains standing today, being repaired and renovated over the years, with a major renovation being done in 1986 and remains is the same shape that we see today. The tower continues to be repainted every seven years, ensuring that it would remain structurally sound while remaining as the icon of the city of Paris, and France itself.
It is estimated that over 7 million people climb up the Eiffel Tower every year, making it one of the world’s top tourist destinations. The tower is also lighted up during various celebrations during the year, commemorating holidays and important events. In tribute to the steel marvel, numerous replicas of the monument have also been erected in different countries around the world, a testament to its popularity and iconic status. Currently, if you are planning to visit the Eiffel Tower, you would be able to access the tower’s restaurant and view deck, allowing you to get a good view of the whole city while dining in fine French cuisine.
Today, the Eiffel Tower stands as a monument that not only symbolizes Paris but also the rest of France. Built at a time when steel was just becoming a major material used in construction, the tower is a proof of the material’s strength and long-lasting durability.