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In the Fold: Autodesk news and opinions

Eiffel Tower Grand Site unveiled in 3D for the very first time thanks to BIM

May 8, 2018

By Beatrice Cassignol

Today, we saw the unveiling of the 3D model created by Autodesk that will be used during the restoration of the Eiffel Tower grand site – all 2.4 square kilometers of it. The model will be used by the Paris Council to engage with the public during the design and construction process; allowing both Parisians and tourists alike to experience the Eiffel Tower like they never have before – in virtual 3D.

Autodesk is the sole technology provider collaborating with the City of Paris on this prestigious and unique project and used Building Information Modelling (BIM) to create the largest urban model of its kind worldwide, complete with buildings, roads and infrastructures, pedestrian zones and crossing, urban furniture and green areas.

The sheer scale of the project has been an exciting challenge for the Autodesk team tasked with creating the data-set of the 3D model. Mapping the details of the 2.4 square km site required Lidar scanning to generate 194 point cloud tiles, aerial photography that is precise to the nearest 2 to 5cm depending on areas, and the creation of 342 GB worth of point cloud data (that’s 10.3 Billion points!), all of which can be used to create models in both Autodesk InfraWorks and 3ds Max.

Competing to reimagine the Eiffel Tower grand site

At the event held in Paris’ City Hall, Jean-Louis Missika, Deputy Mayor of the City of Paris, in charge of urban planning, architecture, Grand Paris projects, economic development and attractiveness, and Jean-François Martins, Deputy Mayor of Paris, in charge of all questions relating to sport, tourism, Olympic and Paralympic Games, also revealed the four teams that have been selected to compete to reimagine the area. Congratulations to Gustafson Porter + Bowman and BIM Services; AL_A and Quatorze-ig; Agence ter and Arcadis; and KOZ Architectes!

Over the next year, Autodesk will work with the teams to visualize their designs for the Eiffel Tower grand site, giving them access to a simplified version of the 3D model to use during the different stages of the competition process. The model will help illustrate visibility of project design components from various lines-of-sight and viewpoints, helping the teams to create individual proposals for the future urban space. Additionally, the model will be used by a jury panel during the final judging of the four proposals to better understand them.

The four designs will be unveiled in Spring 2019, and the construction of the winning project will start in 2021. The renovation of the Eiffel Tower area, covering the Trocadéro Gardens and the Champ de Mars, will be finalised just in time for the 2024 Summer Olympics, and ahead of other major events including the 2025 Universal Exhibition and the 2026 Rugby World Cup.

While the makeover will make the area more pleasant for visitors, the project isn’t just a cosmetic effort.

The Parisian metropolis needs to address growing challenges relating to energy, greening, supply networks, mobility, logistics, waste management and security of the area. Not only that, but with Paris renowned for flooding and climate scientists expecting this to increase, the city is taking necessary pre-emptive measures to prevent future damage.

Championing BIM around the world

While this project may be taking place in Paris, we hope its impact will be felt worldwide.

Growing populations, diminishing resources, skills gaps, and squeezed business margins are just some of the pressures being felt by construction firms all over the world. At the same time, they’re challenged with delivering projects on time, with less waste and that are more cost effective with less carbon footprint.

But the BIM process, as well as other digital tools and cloud-enabled technologies, hold the answer. They can help architects, engineers and contractors visualise designs before they’re built, leading to more efficient and accurate projects. They also enable closer collaboration amongst teams since designs can be accessed from anywhere, at any time.

The Eiffel Tower project is one of the most prestigious uses of BIM around the world on this type of urban project, and a great example of how a city – and indeed, a government – can harness new digital technologies to accelerate automation in the construction industry.

Nicolas Mangon, Senior Vice President AEC Strategy and Business Marketing at Autodesk, said: Autodesk is proud to collaborate on this landmark project and have a platform to showcase to people around the world how construction is being disrupted by emerging technologies. While France is one of the leading nations championing BIM and other digital tools through its Digital Transition Plan for Construction (PTNB), there are still others yet to be convinced of the power of digital and BIM. We hope that the learnings, successes and benefits of the Eiffel Tower project will encourage countries to start taking digital approaches, such as BIM and cloud, seriously as the future of the AEC Industry.”

Credit: Autodesk

Model by the numbers

  • Thousands of hours of data capture ​
  • 4 square km
  • 194 point cloud tiles with 342 GB of point cloud data used to build elements of the model (terrain, buildings, statues and city furniture) ​
  • Cumulative point cloud contains 10.3 billion points and covers 0.93 square km​
  • 8,200 trees modeled, 1,000 buildings, ​three bridges, 25 statues and hundreds of lighting fixtures, benches and park fixtures​

For more information on this project, please visit

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