Celebrate Bastille Day With Amazing Architecture Across France

Historians mark Bastille Day as one of the most important days in history because of what followed after the storming of the French fortress from which it takes its name on this day over two centuries ago. July 14th, 1789, marked a key moment at the very onset of the French Revolution, which would lead to the end of theocratical monarchies and the beginning of democracies and republics starting with the victory and dictatorship of Napoleon.

This political transition impacted the history of architecture heavily, too. Symbols of democracy, derived from the Roman Empire, were invented in the Empire style under Napoleon. The United States was later influenced by the Empire style in their own version of this, named the Federal style, seen at the U.S. Capitol building, for example.

Today, we take a look at contemporary architecture across the country in steel, glass, concrete and wood. These projects pay considerable attention to energy and water sources, material choices and complex urban conditions: check out the best of France on Bastille Day!

A tubular steel lattice encases the ‘entrance crystal’ at Lyon’s new natural history museum at the confluence of the Rhone and Saone rivers. Natural ventilation, single-glazed ventilation panels, exhaust air, groundwater cooling, and a photovoltaic system are a few of the elements which make this museum on the cutting edge of sustainable design.

The main lobby of the Tour Carpe Diem is a 16-foot-high winter garden at the heart of La Défense. 30 column-free floors maximize light and views, and a rooftop clubhouse provides conference facilities and another roof garden with views of the city. The building is supplied with water and energy from geothermal wells heated with solar energy and a heat recovery system.

A self-cleaning glass roof and steel framework encase the headquarters of two companies, PONS and HUOT, in a refurbished building form the late 19th century.

Simply put, this building is a light roof suspended over an Olympic-sized pool, a leisure swimming pool, and a health club.

The redesign of the Paris Zoo built in 1934 consists of three materials: mesh, covered by vegetation, that filters light through the structure; timber, locally sourced; and glass surfaces create a greenhouse in which animals and visitors interact at one of the oldest cage-free zoos in the world.

This office building in the exurbs of Paris features a large atrium with a custom-made, double-skin glass façade that imparts its bioclimatic properties.

Soft lighting, fluid architectural promenades, and curves create a break in time at this urban redevelopment project.