The Eiffel Tower is one of the most important monuments in Paris and since its construction in 1889, it has welcomed more than 250 million visitors from all over the world. The tower has witnessed many political, social and economic events throughout history.
The Eiffel Tower, a major project of the World Fair
In 1889, the fourth Universal Exhibition was to be held in Paris. The Eiffel Tower was to reach a height of 300 metres and tower over all the buildings of the time. To implement this vision, the developer Gustav Eiffel won the construction contract. He had studied engineering at the École des Arts et Manufactures in Paris. After setting up his own company, Eiffel took over the government’s orders and was also involved in the construction. Gustav Eiffel became the name of the Eiffel Tower. Initially sceptical, Eiffel took increasing pleasure in the concept of a 300 metre high tower. After a phase of revision of the construction concept, he secured the patent and began preparations.
Building the Eiffel Tower
Eiffel and his team spent exactly two years building the Eiffel Tower in time for the World Exhibition. The first task was to calculate the loads that the structure would have to bear. It turned out that an air cylinder had the lowest weight for the same base area. In addition, the tall tower was given the highest possible permeability to withstand heavy storms. The construction allowed the tip of the tower to move only 12 centimetres in winds of up to 180 kilometres per hour. In total, the construction involved the design, fabrication and processing of approximately 18,000 components. To keep the construction team together, Eiffel relied above all on motivation and discipline. He employed a maximum of 250 people and guaranteed them a good salary.
Why is the Eiffel Tower shaped like this?
When the tower was built, many people were shocked by its bold shape. Eiffel was criticised for the design and accused of trying to create something artistic, or inartistic depending on the viewer, without regard to engineering. Eiffel and his engineers, however, as experienced bridge builders, understood the importance of wind forces and knew that if they were to build the tallest structure in the world, they had to be sure that it would withstand the wind. The shape of the tower was therefore determined by mathematical calculation involving wind resistance. Several theories of this mathematical calculation have been proposed over the years. This shape is exponential.