Alexandre Gustave Eiffel French civil engineer and architect is best known for the Eiffel Tower, built for the 1889 Universal Exposition in Paris, and the Statue of Liberty in New York. He specialized in metal constructions after college, and his early work focused chiefly on bridges. He attended the prestigious École Polytechnique and later graduated from the École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures (College of Art and Manufacturing) in Paris.
He made his name with various bridges over many countries, French railway networks, and also Churches. After his retirement, Eiffel focused on meteorology and aerodynamics.
Here are 15 iconic projects by Alexandre Gustave Eiffel:
1. Passerelle Eiffel, Bordeaux, France – 1860 | Gustave Eiffel
Saint Jean bridge commonly called an Eiffel gateway was built in 1858-1860 designed by Stanislas de la Laroche-Tolay, Paul Regnauld, and Gustave Eiffel as a young collaborator. In the Euro Atlantic project, this footbridge is to be used for pedestrians and cyclists. This project gave Gustave recognition in the metal construction field. This technique of tubular piles or called the Trigger process is then used in Eiffel Tower. Though it was about to be destroyed as a new viaduct for passage, it is UNESCO who stopped the planned demolition. Then it was placed under classification authority as historic monuments on February 22, 2010. By 2020 this bridge will become pedestrian and bicycle as part of the Euro-Atlantic project.
2. Railway station at Toulouse, France – 1862
Toulouse-Matabiau is the primary station in Toulouse and it connects Toulouse metro. From here direct trains run to most parts of France. The railway was built in the 19th century in Toulouse. It was designed by Marius Toudoire along with Gustave. It was mainly built of stone from the Roman city of Saintes. Toulouse-Matabiau serves both regional and national services as it is located at the heart of a six-branch star network of lines.
3. Church of Notre Dame des Champs, Paris – 1867
Nore-Dame-des-Champs is a roman catholic church originally dedicated to the god Mercury, which is located in the 6th arrondissement, Paris, France. After the Christianization of France, the temple was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and was named Notre-Dame-des-Vignes. Robert II dedicated it to both the Virgin Mary and Saint-Denis by making additions to the church. The church was later made into a priory by the Benedictine monks of Marmoutier Abbey, renaming it Notre-Dame-des-Champs in honor of Our Lady of the Fields. The church was destroyed during the French Revolution and rebuilt gradually in due time. A small portion of the estate in 1802 by the Carmelite Order. A small chapel dedicated to Notre-Dame-des-Champs was built, adding cloisters and living quarters.
In 1858 a temporary wooden chapel was built as a neighborhood parish. The current structure was built by Eugène Bonté, Léon Ginain, and Gustave Eiffel in the Romanesque style. On 17 March 1867, the foundation stone was laid. The stone came from quarries in Châtillon, Hauts-de-Seine. After being interrupted by the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, the completed church was blessed on 31 October 1876. On 25 March 1912, the church was declared sacred by Archbishop Léon-Adolphe Amette of Paris.
4. Maria pia bridge, Portugal – 1877
The Maria Pia Bridge located in the city of Porto in Portugal runs over the Douro River. In 1877 the bridge was opened by the king of Portugal. It is named after Queen Maria Pia. This was a competition project from The Royal Portuguese Railway Company, to carry from Lisbon to Porto railway over the Douro.
Construction of the bridge began in 1876. Gustave used a new technique that made the bridge construction faster and technically possible. Without support from below the construction started from building the arch from each side. So building a tower on each side of the river that was used to support the arch. It was attached to temporary wires in the mountains, which went through the tower arch. As the arc grew, several wires were set up several wires that held the bow up. When the arch was finished it stood by itself, and the wires were removed. This technique is used today in many bridges. This technique was used when he built the Eiffel Garabit Viaduct. In 1990 it was considered as an International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. And the following year rail service ended as it was a single track and speed restriction with transit limiting to 20km/hr for cargo.
5. Ponte Eiffel, Viana do Castelo – 1878 | Gustave Eiffel
The Ponte do Rodo-Ferroviária de Viana do Castelo, better known as the Eiffel Bridge, is a structure that carries the Linha do Minho and the Estrada Nacional 13 over the Lima River, next to the city of Viana do Castelo, Portugal measuring 645m, considered for its length as a monumental work. The minimum span between the two pillars is 46.08m and acts as a symbol of the architecture of Ferro in Portugal. This bridge changed the city of Viana do Castelo with the implementation of the railway and the widening of the port area.
6. Garabit Viaduct, France – 1884
The Garabit Viaduct is located in Cantal, France, in the mountainous Massif Central region. It is a railway arch bridge constructed between 1882 and 1884 by Gustave Eiffel, along with structural engineering by Maurice Koechlin. It is 565 m in length and the principal arch measures 165m in the span. The bridge was the world’s highest when it was built, 124 m above the river. The viaduct was in normal operation daily with one regular passenger train each way passing: Corail route from Clermont-Ferrand to Béziers. The viaduct was closed as cracks were discovered in one of the foundation piles. Garabit viaduct is in operation now with a speed limit of 10km/h for all traffic.
7. Nice Observatory, Nice, France – 1886
The Nice observatory was in 1879 by Rapael Bischoffsheim located in Nice, France. Gustave Eiffel designed the main dome while Charles Garnier was an architect. It no longer exists as a scientific institution and was merged with CERGA in 1988. The observatory has a refractor telescope made by Gautier and Henry, holds the record of largest in a privately funded observatory, and also sets for 325m high altitude. It was outperformed when Lick Observatory was built in 1889. It was featured in movies such as Simon Sez and Magic in the Moonlight.
8. Rouzat Viaduct, Gannat, France – 1867
Rouzat Viaduct was completed in 1869 for railway purposes in Gannat, France. It was designed by Gustave Eiffel, Cie, Wilhelm Nording, and Theophile Seyrig. Made up of iron, it’s a deck truss-type railway bridge constructed over the Sioule River.
9. Cubzac Les Ponts – 1880
Gustave Eiffel designed one of the bridges in Cubzac, crossing points over the river Dordogne. Cubzac is one of the prominent roadwork projects for Eiffel. Repair’s works were done when it was partially destroyed. Jacques Eiffel, grandson of Gustave Eiffel undertook the repair works with his Anciens ets Eiffel Company. So the name “Twice Eiffel Bridge”.
10. Grand Hotel Traian – 1882 | Gustave Eiffel
Commonly known as Hotel Train, located in Lasi, Romania built in 1882. Built by Gustave in Neoclassical style. Lasi county includes this hotel in the list of historical monuments. Scarlet Pastia initially decided to build a theatre, but instead went on to build a hotel. It holds a 4-star classification from the year 2006 over the investment of over 4 million euros.
11. Mercado Adolpho Lisboa – 1883
On the shore of Rio Negro, lies the Mercado Adolpho Lisboa marketplace built in 1883. The metallic structures were built in Gustavo factories and sent to Manaus by ship. The specialty of the building was having two facades each facing the Rio Negro and the other the public road. It is a famous marketplace in the city of Manaus, one of the largest. The market consists of two pavilions made of masonry and others made in iron due to insufficient raw material.
12. Statue of Liberty, New York – 1886 | Gustave Eiffel
Statue of Liberty is located in New York. The people of France gifted this copper statue to the United States. It’s a perfect example of neo-classical sculpture. Its metal structure was built by Gustave Eiffel and his structural engineer Maurice Koechlin, designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and while landscape design was supervised by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. The statue was dedicated on October 28, 1886.
This was the earliest example of curtain wall construction. The components of the Statue were built in the Eiffel factory which was then transported to the site. The design was changed when Eiffel coordinated the project from using masonry to iron which made changes in the statue assembly plan.
When European immigrants entered New York in the late 19th and 20th century they saw the statue, not as enlightenment, rather as a sign of welcome to their new home. This association became stronger when the immigration center was built nearby Ellis Island. It was dull copper color when it was built, but became green platina due to oxidation of copper skin. Though the government made measures to paint on the exterior and interior of the statue, it was only done in the interior stating that it was completely safe by the army corps of engineers and it softened the outlines of the statue and made it beautiful. After World War I, it became a symbol of liberty as it was used in recruitment posters, and made American citizens support financially causing marketing campaigns early. There were repairs and changes over time replacing and adding new structural changes like replacing originally puddled iron to Ferralium for stability.
UNESCO describes the statue as “a masterpiece of the human spirit of ideals”.
13. Eiffel Tower, Paris – 1889
The Eiffel tower got its name after the engineer Gustave Eiffel. It is made of wrought iron and is located in Champ de Mars, Paris, France. It was constructed as an entrance to the 1889 World’s Fair. Initially, it gained a lot of controversies from writers, artists, painters, sculptors, architects, and other devotees of Paris due to its height and it may disrespect of Paris cityscape.
More than 250 million people have visited this tower since 1889 and hold the record of the most paid monument in the world. An average of 25000 people visits each day. Tower has restaurants on the first and second levels. Until 1981, the top-level had another restaurant which was closed due to sag it caused over the tower.
There are various replicas of different scales all over the world such as Blackpool tower in England, Tokyo Tower in Japan, Paris Las Vegas, Nevada, Durango in Mexico, and several across Europe.
Apart from being a national monument, it has also been used for radio transmissions since the 20th century. In Paris, only a few buildings have a clear view of the tower as the zoning restrictions are up to 7 floors. The tower is painted once in 7 years to prevent rusting. Until 2001, lead paint was used which was replaced due to environmental concerns.
14. Paradis Latin, Paris – 1889
The Paradis Latin is a theatre in the Latin Quarter of Paris. Theatre Latin was originally called in 1803. Paradis Latin was named after it was rebuilt by Gustave Eiffel. In 1887, the theatre was reconstructed by Gustave when he was working on his tower. This place has served as many, which includes theatre, workshop, and also as a warehouse.
15. Konak Pier, Konak, Izmir – 1890 | Gustave Eiffel
The Konak pier was built in the Turkish city, Izmir. This customs building was designed by Gustave Eiffel with stone masonry and with rough plaster. Its function changed from being a custom building to the fish market, later becoming an upmarket shopping center. The architectural elements include arched openings, marvel floorings, and small openings that add a cozy and intimate look.
Apart from these many projects, there remain several projects falsely associated and not proven. Today some projects were dismantled, collapsed, destroyed, and removed leaving piers due to its danger. Some were added to the list of historical monuments.