Building bridges to the ME

A few weeks ago I came across an article about how a group of French architects were battling against the aversion of a majority of the Parisian populace to gets plans approved that would transform the city's skyline.

COMMENT, Projects

A few weeks ago I came across an article about how a group of French architects were battling against the aversion of a majority of the Parisian populace to gets plans approved that would transform the city's skyline.

The plans involved reviving areas on the fringes of the city with a number of high-rise developments.

With the backing of the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, and the Mayor of Paris, the main thrust behind the project was putting the city, otherwise associated with Hausmann-style architecture, up there with the 'great wave of modern creativity' that has swept through other major cities.

Even though Paris has some of the world's most renowned architectural landmarks to its name - from the cathedral of Notre Dame to the Arc de Triomphe and the Sacre Coeur - the city still looks to the likes of Dubai as a benchmark for progression, whether that be to the detriment of its own aesthetic or not.

This goes to show that no matter how immature the market mechanisms of construction may be in the Middle East in comparison to Europe, those on the outside are either using the region to influence their own construction, or are coming to work here.

French companies are generally known for making business decisions based on the robustness and reputation of a particular market before taking the plunge; which could go some way to explain why French contractors have, up until now, been slow to get involved in the Middle East construction boom,
particularly when compared to the British and Germans.

Another reason could be that their expertise lies less with modern real estate and more with roads, railways and bridges, which is why Paris might struggle to build skyscrapers.

But this is good news for construction here when you consider the infrastructure that still needs to be developed and the number of sturdy bridges that will be needed to link reclaimed island projects.

And with several rail projects in the pipeline, France's arrival could not have been better timed.

One only has to look at the TGV, one of the most advanced rail networks in the world, to see what can happen with a little French influence.

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