Sou Fujimoto Architects, Nicolas Laisné Associates, and Manal Rachdi OXO just won a competition to build "Arbre Blanc" (White Tree) as the second "Architectural Folie of the 21st Century" for Montpellier, France. The closed competition challenges international architects to design and construct 12 boldly modern buildings for the city. Inspired by the form and structural efficiency of trees, this stunning mixed-use tower features balconies that stretch out like branches and leaves.
The city of Montpellier launched its ambitious 12-building “Folies” competition in hopes of enriching its 21st century architectural heritage. A product of both Japanese and Mediterranean influences, Arbre Blanc’s iconic cross-cultural design will help Montellier cement its image as a modern metropolis. The 100,000 square foot mixed-use residential tower will serve as the city’s new focal point and will include housing, a restaurant, an art gallery, office space, a bar with panoramic views and common areas.
Located midway between the historic city center and the up-and-coming Port Marianne and Odysseum districts, the 17-story tower is designed to look as if it grew out of the ground and was organically sculpted over time by water or wind. Built to accommodate the surrounding environment, the building’s facade curves and twists to offer its residents the best exposure and panoramic views without obstructing the views of its neighbors. Large balconies and sunshades jut out at strategic angles to mimic branches or leaves fanning out to absorb the sun’s rays. The tower will also use passive strategies to reduce its energy usage and minimize its carbon footprint.
Images via Manal Rachdi OXO