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The Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

The Eiffel tower is a technological masterpiece in building-construction history. When the French government was organizing the International Exposition of 1889 to celebrate the centenary of the French Revolution, a competition was held for designs for a suitable monument. More than 700 plans were submitted, and the Centennial Committee accepted that of the bridge engineer Gustave Eiffel. However it was not accepted by all at first. Eiffel's concept of a 984-foot (300-metre) tower built almost entirely of open-lattice wrought iron aroused amazement, skepticism, and no little opposition on aesthetic grounds. When completed, the tower served as the entrance gateway to the exposition.

Nothing remotely like the Eiffel Tower had ever been built; it was twice as high as the dome of St. Peter's in Rome or the Great Pyramid of Giza. In contrast to such older monuments, the tower was erected in only about two years (1887–89), with a small labour force, at slight cost. Making use of his advanced knowledge of the behaviour of metal arch and metal truss forms under loading, Eiffel designed a light, airy, but strong structure that presaged a revolution in civil engineering and architectural design. And, after it opened to the public on March 31, 1889, it ultimately vindicated itself aesthetically.

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