Everyone wants to be surrounded by at least some green, particularly in a typical all-too-gray urban environment. There are many complex green residential buildings with everything from park-like rooftops to living walls. One designer went with a simpler solution that is profound in its elemental environmental elegance.
Edouard Francois is a green architect with a reputation for radical designs that challenge conventions by blending the innovative with the traditional, elegantly modern with sustainably simple. This apartment tower is one such example, featuring flower pots built in at each level to surround and shade the entire structure in green.
The design pictured above and below is called “Tower Flower.”
“Here we are experimenting with a new urban theory, that of the open block… Architecture context on one side or nature opposite? Question of perspective. We know too little, impossible to choose; it will be both. Christian de Portzamparc, Chief Architect of the Hauts Malesherbes ZAC, gave us carte blanche.”
“Located opposite the park, Tower Flower is its vertical extension. With its giant flower pots hanging from balconies, it is inspired by Parisian planters which are sometimes real botanical feats. Its facade elements are one of the first applications of Ductal (Lafarge). Housing intended for accession is free of any load-bearing wall. They benefit from the rustling of bamboo and a light filtered by the foliage. The elevator is in the front. Glazed on two sides, it lets light penetrate the common areas. On the ground floor, it opens onto the outside which becomes a hall. Tower Flower embodies the expression of the desire for nature in the city.”
His other work incorporates natural elements and raw materials in curious ways, often blurring the boundary between natural and manmade with rough-hewn wood slats or entirely green growing facades. Perhaps most impressive, his designs seem livable as well as sustainable – one could actually imagine wanting to live in his fantastical green design solutions.
“Alumnus of the Ecole National des Beaux-Arts in Paris and the Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, Edouard Francois has been an architect and urban planner since 1986. He established his own architectural, urban planning and design studio in 1998. His career was launched with various projects including ‘The Building that Grows’ in Montpellier (2000) and the ‘Flower Tower’ in Paris (2004).”