The Construction of a Parisian Icon | Design & Architectural Style of Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower is a wrought iron lattice tower on the Champ de Mars in Paris, France. Named after its engineer and designer, Gustave Eiffel, the tower was built as the entrance arch to the 1889 World Fair.

The tower is 320 meters (1,050 ft) tall, about the same height as an 81-story building. It became the tallest man-made structure globally during its construction, surpassing New York City's Chrysler Building by nearly 200 feet (61 m). Learn everything about this fascinating man-made architectural wonder of the world on this page.

Architecture & Design of the Eiffel Tower | Quick Overview

Eiffel Tower Architecture

Who Designed the Eiffel Tower?

One of the world's greatest wonders, the Eiffel Tower, took only 2 years, 2 months, and 5 days to build. The engineers and architects who made it possible are:

Eiffel Tower Architecture

Gustave Eiffel

Gustave Eiffel was a French civil engineer. Gustave Eiffel began his career as an engineer working on bridges for the French railway network. One of his most prominent works during this time was the Garabit Viaduct near Millau in southern France. His best-known work, however, might be the Eiffel Tower, which was designed by his company for the 1889 Universal Exposition in Paris. He was also responsible for creating the metal framework for the Statue of Liberty. After his retirement, he focused on research in the fields of meteorology and aerodynamics.

Eiffel Tower Architecture

Emile Nouguier and Maurice Koechlin

Emile Nouguier and Maurice Koechlin were two of Gustave Eiffel's chief engineers who played an important role in designing and constructing the Eiffel Tower. Koechlin was a graduate of the Zurich Polytechnikum and joined Eiffel's Compagnie des établissements Eiffel in 1879. A graduate of the École Polytechnique was employed by Eiffel et Cie, which later became the Compagnie des établissements Eiffel, in 1867. In 1887, the two engineers started working on the plans for the Eiffel Tower.

Eiffel Tower Architecture

Stephen Sauvestre

Stephen Sauvestre was the architect who worked on the appearance of the Eiffel Tower. He was commissioned by Maurice Koechlin and Emile Nouguier, who were concerned about its reception by the public. He added embellishments in the form of decorative arches on the base, the glass pavilion on the first level, and the cupola at the top. These embellishments made the tower look more impressive. It was these additions that convinced Eiffel, who was hesitant at the start, to go ahead with the project.

Eiffel Tower Architectural Style & Design

Eiffel Tower Architecture

The Eiffel Tower, designed by Gustave Eiffel, marked a clear departure from the Neo-Gothic, Neo-Renaissance, and Neo-Baroque styles that were prevalent in the 18th and 19th centuries. The inspiration for the design came from the Latting Observatory built in New York City in 1853.

The original sketch by Keochlin depicted the tower as "a great pylon, consisting of four lattice girders standing apart at the base and coming together at the top, joined together by metal trusses at regular intervals".

The tower is an open-lattice iron structure with four massive arched legs. It is set on masonry columns that curve inward and meet in a single, tapered tower. Each pier rests on four concrete slabs. The tower is made of 18,000 pieces accurate to a tenth of millimeters that has been joined together by 2,500,000 rivets. Each and every piece used in the tower was manufactured especially for it in Eiffel’s factory located at Levallois-Perret on the outskirts of Paris.

Stages of Construction of the Eiffel Tower


  • As part of preparations for the 1889 World's Fair, the French government commissioned Gustave Eiffel and his partners to build an iron tower 300 meters high on the Champ de Mars. After considering 107 different proposals, Eiffel's design was accepted.
  • The bridge was made of lattice work girders, separated at their bases and coming together at their tops, with more girders joining them at regular intervals.
  • The two chief engineers in Eiffel's company, Emile Nouguier, and Maurice Koechlin, built a very tall tower in 1884; Gustave Eiffel registered a patent for the same in September 1884.


  • The tower's construction began on July 1, 1887, and was completed twenty-two months later. All the pieces used to construct the Tower were specially designed and traced out a tenth of a millimeter and then assembled by a team of constructors who had worked on metal viaduct projects before and oversaw 150 to 300 workers on-site.
  • The metal pieces were held together by rivets, a well-refined construction method. Only three-quarters of the 2,500,000 rivets used in its construction were inserted directly on-site. The tower was assembled using wooden scaffoldings and small steam cranes.
  • It took five months to build the foundations and twenty-one to finish assembling the metal pieces. Construction began in January 1887 and was finished on March 31, 1889.


  • The primary material used to build the Eiffel Tower was puddle iron supplied from the Pompey forges, East of France. 7,300 metric tons of iron, 18,000 parts, and 2,500,000 rivets were used to construct the tower.


  • The Eiffel Tower is 1024 feet tall without the antennas. The total width of the tower is 410 feet (on the ground). The width of each pillar is 82 feet (on the bottom), and the 4 pillars form 410 square feet sideways square. The first, second, and third floors stand 187 feet, 377 feet, and 906 feet from the ground.

The Structure of the Eiffel Tower, Paris

Eiffel Tower Architecture

French engineer Gustave Eiffel designed the Eiffel Tower to demonstrate that wrought iron could be as strong as stone while being lighter. The tower resembles the shape of a pyramid but with slightly curved sides. The four-sided tower is divided into four parts based on height: the lower part, between the floor and the first floor (57.63 m), the second part, between the first and second floor (115.73 m from the ground), the third, between the second and third floor (located at 276.13 m) and the fourth from the third to the top (324 m above ground). The first part is characterized by four distinct pillars, and from the second floor, these pillars merge into a single column that rises to the top.

There are 108 stories with 1,710 steps. However, visitors can only climb stairs to the first platform. There are two elevators—the first powered by hydraulics and the second by electricity. The tower weighs 10,000 tons and has 5 billion lights on it. The Eiffel Tower was one of the first examples of modern architecture because of its use of iron rather than stone or brick.

Highlights of the Eiffel Tower Architecture

Eiffel Tower Architecture

Material Used

The material chosen to erect a tower 1,000 feet high was iron for many reasons; it was more realistic than a wooden or stone tower and reinforced concrete was not popular at the time. Puddled iron is created in blast furnaces, as a result of which excess carbon is removed. This process makes the iron more durable, and yet lighter and less rigid than steel. The metal framework alone weighs 7,300 tons. To extend the lifespan of the tower, it is painted every seven years.

Eiffel Tower Architecture

Wind Resistant Design

While building such a tall structure, the engineers behind the tower were aware that the tower needed to be able to withstand wind. Eiffel used empirical methods to determine the effects of wind and graphical methods to calculate the strength of the tower. Keeping this in mind, the tower was designed to minimize wind resistance. However, when the winds are strong, the Eiffel Tower sways by up to 9 cm (3.5 in).

Eiffel Tower Architecture
Eiffel Tower Architecture

Engraved Names

Along the frieze that runs along the four sides of the tower, you will find engravings of the names of 72 French scientists, engineers, and mathematicians in recognition of their contributions to the building of the tower. Gustav wanted future visitors to view the names of those who were behind the creation of this important tower. At the beginning of the 20th century, the engravings were painted over, but they were restored in 1986–87. Unfortunately, not a single name belongs to a woman. Some popular names that appear here include Monge, Cuvier, Laplace, Ampère, Lavoisier, Gay-Lussac, Arago, Bichat, Daguerre, and Le Verrier.

Color of the Eiffel Tower

It takes several coats of paint to ensure that the Eiffel Tower is protected from oxidation. To this end, the tower has been repainted 19 times since its construction. Painters strip and clean the entire tower, then apply two coats of rust-proofing and the final coat of paint.

However, the conditions have to be just right for the repainting campaign to take place. The weather cannot be cold or wet, as both don't allow for the paint to hold well on the structure. When the weather is right, at an average of seven years, the tower gets repainted. Since the traditional methods are still in use, a lot of attention is paid to the safety of workers. The tower is fitted with safety nets and safety lines. Painters are equipped with harnesses to work on the Eiffel Tower's beams.

Over the years, during these repainting campaigns, the Eiffel Tower turned to various shades, from red-brown to yellow-ochre to chestnut brown and finally, bronze. The tower is slightly shaded off on the top so that the color is perceived to be the same throughout.

Puddle iron, the material used to build the Eiffel Tower, can last for an eternity, as long as it is repainted. However, it is affected by other factors such as rust, pollution, and bird droppings.

History of the Eiffel Tower's colors

  • 1887/88: Venetian red
  • 1889: Reddish-brown
  • 1892: Ochre brown
  • 1899: 5 shades from yellow-orange at the base to light yellow at the top
  • 1907-1947: Yellow-brown
  • 1954-61: Brownish-red
  • 1968 - Now: Eiffel Tower Brown, applied in three shades, with the darkest at the bottom and the lightest at the top.

Eiffel Tower Riddled with Rust

Recent reports suggest that the Eiffel Tower is riddled with rust and in need of repairs. Ideally, about 30% of the tower needs to be stripped back to the metal, repaired, and then have two coats applied. However, the tower is instead going through a 60 million euro paint job ahead of the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

The delays in the work caused due to the pandemic have made SETE, the company that oversees the tower, decide to treat only 5% of the tower.

Trocadéro Gardens

Eiffel Tower Architecture

Eiffel Tower | An Architectural Wonder

The Eiffel Tower is one of the marvelous creations of man. The tower boasts every minute aspect of modernity and stands tall among the neo-gothic and baroque-styled architecture in Europe. The Eiffel Tower attracts millions of visitors annually from across the globe due to its unique charm and fascinating architectural beauty.

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Frequently Asked Questions about the Eiffel Tower Architecture

What is the Eiffel Tower architectural style?

The Eiffel Tower architecture was constructed in modern style.

Who designed the Eiffel Tower?

Gustave Eiffel designed the Eiffel Tower with help from engineers Maurice Koechlin and Émile Nouguier, two senior engineers working at Eiffel's company.

Why is the Eiffel Tower architecture famous?

The Eiffel Tower architecture is famous because of its height and unique construction using puddle iron.

What was the Eiffel Tower inspired by?

The Eiffel Tower was inspired by the Latting Observatory in New York.

When was the Eiffel Tower built?

The Eiffel Tower was built in 1887.

How old is the Eiffel Tower?

The Eiffel Tower is 137 years old.

What's inside the Eiffel Tower?

There are three floors inside the Eiffel Tower comprising eateries, shops, and a champagne bar.

What is on the exterior of the Eiffel Tower?

The exterior of the Eiffel Tower is made of wrought iron.

What is in the interior of the Eiffel Tower?

The Eiffel Tower is divided into three floors, consisting of some restaurants, shops, and a champagne bar, apart from observation decks that offer some of the best views of Paris.

How big is the Eiffel Tower?

The Eiffel Tower is 1,050 feet tall with a width of 410 feet.

What are the dimensions of the Eiffel Tower?

The Eiffel Tower is 1,050 feet tall and 410 feet in width.

What is Eiffel Tower made out of?

The Eiffel Tower is made out of puddled iron.

Is Trocadero part of the Eiffel Tower?

Yes, the Trocadero Gardens is just across the tower.

Who designed Trocadero?

Gabriel Davioud designed the Trocadero Gardens.

Where can I buy tickets to the Eiffel Tower?

You can buy tickets to the Eiffel Tower online here.