Arbre Blanc to blossom in Montpellier

Friday 07 Mar 2014

Trio of studios to create 2nd architectural Folie of the XXIth century in Montpellier

Sou Fujimoto Architects + Nicolas Laisne Associates + Manal Rachdi Oxo Architects have been awarded first place in a competition to design the ‘second architectural Folie of the XXIth century’ in Montpellier. Working with developers Promeo Patrimoine and Evolis promotions, the trio has conceptualised a 17-storey high rise tower to ‘dominate’ the skyline in this picturesque Mediterranean city.

Entitled Arbre Blanc (white tree), the 10,000 sq m mixed-use tower has been devised as if sculpted by the elements of a long period of time. Its silhouette is punctuated by a multitude of generously-sized balconies which play off the Montpellier tradition of outdoor living. The trio of practices intended this structure to look as natural as possible, mimicking a tree which has grown in response to its plot. 

Located at the midway point between Montpellier city centre and the newly developed districts of Port Marianne and Odysseum, the scheme sits at symbolic position between old and new which the winning team parallels with the two generations of architects behind the building design.

A statement from the team reads: “A beat integral to the urban song, the building is destined as a public high-rise built for every soul in Montpellier. The edifice will extend its limbs to all the city’s residents and visitors, from the ground floor restaurant and art gallery to the penthouse bar serving as vista point. This attainable passage will make the tower that much more attractive as a source of pride for Montpellians and a point of interest for tourists.”

The mixed-use tower includes residential units, a restaurant, an art gallery, a panoramic bar and office space. Residents interested in purchasing apartments within the tower will be presented with a range of options in line with what the team considers ‘tomorrow’s housing trend’. Rather than offering ‘cookie-cutter’ units, residents will be able to adapt the apartments to suit their needs and desires.

The multidisciplinary team includes Sou Fujimoto Architects, Nicolas Laisné Associés, Manal Rachdi Oxo Architects, engineer André Verdier, environmental engineering agency Franck Boutté Consultants, landscaping team Bassinet Turquin, designer Lumière Studio, and inspection firm Socotec and Casso et Associés. Copyright for all images belongs to SOU FUJIMOTO ARCHITECTS + NICOLAS LAISNE ASSOCIES + MANAL RACHDI OXO ARCHITECTS+ FRANCK BOUTTE CONSULTANTS + Rendering by RSI-STUDIO.

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