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First skyscraper in Paris for 30 years given official go-ahead

They voted to allow the construction of Project Triangle, the first of about 20 high rise projects that will transform the skyline of France's capital city. Work could start as soon as the end of next year.

The 200 metre tall, 50 storey glass building to be built at Porte de Versailles, will be the third largest in Paris after the Eiffel Tower and the Montparnasse Tower when it is completed in 2012.

It marks a complete turnaround for planning in the city. When Chirac was mayor of Paris he limited new buildings to a height of 37 metres. But a shortage of housing and office space has led the current political regime to overturn the ruling.

Plans for Projet Triangle, designed by Swiss architecture practice Herzog & de Meuron who also designed the iconic Bird's Nest Olympic stadium in Beijing, include offices, a conference centre and a 400-bed hotel as well as restaurants, cafes and gardens.

'Paris has always put economic development, employment and innovation at the heart of its ambition. This must now be translated into concrete which will reinforce its economic attractiveness,' said Deputy Mayor, Anne Hidalgo.

The design is a pyramidal block structure which won't cast shadows on adjacent buildings, according to the architects. While one side looks like a pyramid, the other is an ultra thin triangle resembling a shark's fin. It is also designed to optimise solar and wind power generation.

However, not everyone will welcome the return of high rise buildings to Paris. A recent survey found that 62% of Parisians are opposed to new skyscrapers being built.