L’ Arbre Blanc” (White Tree) Sou Fujimoto
In response to the “Architectural Folie of the 21st Century” competition, Montpellier; a city located in Southern France has chosen “L’ Arbre Blanc”, “White Tree” as the winner; a design proposal by Sou Fujimoto Architects, Nicolas Laisne Associates, Manal Rachdi Oxo Architects. The ideal city focuses on the concept of outdoor living, as well as the use of renewable materials and sustainable resources. It creates a connection between the residential tower and areas that have been developed and those that have not in the surrounding landscape.
The tower serves a multi-functional purpose, from housing units to art galleries, housing, office areas and evening commodities. In the initial phase the proposed project was designed suitable for the current lifestyle of the Montpelier’s inhabitants which supports the idea of living outdoors. Its convenient location presents many adequate recreational activities as well as lifestyle options. It is situated near Lez River, a main high way and pedestrian bicycle paths. The proposal also suggests the potential of landscaping along Lez, and also suggests to increase the amount of green space at Christophe Coloumb Place.
The residential tower was design to work in relation with the environment, the layered use of extended balconies creates the feeling of potentially branching off into the natural landscape, similar to the network of branches in a tree. The desired use of the residential public building was a kind of intermediate public space where its extended facilities are seen as an example and a highlight to the residents of Montpelier and also a potential area for tourism.
The residential area also consists of multiple room layouts that are flexible to fit any inhabitants needs. Also the use of a modular interior units illustrate this kind of versatility providing inhabitants with a catalogue of floor plans.
The building implements passive strategies and provides natural and sustainable resources that reduce and control the amount of energy emitted. Currently the proposed tower is the tallest architectural structure in the region and is desired to be the prime center of housing and social interaction.
Sou Fujimoto Architect In Charge: Sou Fujimoto, Marie de France Nicolas Laisné Associés Architects In Charge: Nicolas Laisné, Dimitri Roussel, Lucile Nicosia Manal Rachdi Oxo Architects Architects In Charge: Manal Rachdi, Vincent Imfeld Development: Promeo Patrimoine Gilbert Ganivenq, Cyrill Meynadier Evolis Promotion Francis Lamazère, Alain Gillet Surface Structural Engineer: Andre Verdier Design And Environmental Engineering : Frank Boutte Consultants
By Amal Dirie
Courtesy of Sou Fujimoto – Photography of RSI-studio