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Although the old Trocadero Palace built in 1878 was made available, the costs initially dictated that the main building could only be given a facelift. The architects Jacques Carlu, Louis-Hippolyte Boileau and Léon Azéma were chosen to redesign the Trocadero. They partially modified the original concept by actually demolishing the main building between the curved wings and constructing the main hall underground. This created a large square flanked by two pavilion-like ends with monumental cornices. The matching curved wings of the Trocadero, which created a hemicycle, were rhythmically ordered by the neo-classic pilasters. With their blinding white stone facades and their generous scale, they formed the visual frame for the broad axis of view which led from the opposite bank of the Seine with the Eiffel Tower, via the ornamental ponds and their surrounding sunken gardens, over the theatre and monumental terraced staircase, up to the square in front of the Palais where the main avenues came together in the form of a star at the Peace Column at the triumphal entrance to the World Exposition. The main theatre auditorium was constructed below the square and had seating for 2000 people. Large windows in the foyer opened up a view of the Eiffel Tower.

The Palais de Chaillot was attacked by architecture critics because of its supposed servility to the monumental style of the Soviet and German dictatorships. However, the clever urban planning layout of the building which sensitively incorporated lines of sight and the course of the River, and the generous integration of the two wings, all speak in favour of a reassessment of the architecture which, although very strict in its form, is not dominatingly monumental. More than 20 artists and forty sculptors were involved in decorating the Palais and its gardens. The poet Paul Valéry composed the hymn texts for the pavilion pediments.

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The Paris World Exposition 1937
French buildings and pavilions of evergreen classicism - the Palais de Chaillot
Year: 1937City: ParisCountry: France
Duration: 25th May - 25th November 1937



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