News: Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto has unveiled plans for a tower block shaped like a pine cone with balconies sprouting outwards in all directions, as part of a series of "modern follies" underway in Montpellier, France.
Sou Fujimoto is collaborating with French studios Manal Rachdi Oxo and Nicolas Laisne Architects on the second in a series of 12 new buildings planned for the Port Marianne district of Montpellier, followingan apartment block designed by Farshid Moussavi.
Named Arbre Blanc, which translates as White Tree, the 17-storey mixed-use tower will follow Fujimoto's ideology that architecture should reflect forms found in nature.
The building will feature a curved body reminiscent of a tree trunk, while the balconies of its 120 apartments are designed to fan outwards like leaves seeking sunlight. Homes will face different directions, allowing future residents to select the orientations that best suit their lifestyles.
Living rooms will open out to balconies half as big as the apartments to fit in with Montpellier's tradition of outdoor living.
Other spaces in the tower will include an art gallery, a restaurant, a panoramic bar and offices. Located at the crossroads of several major thoroughfares, including the Lez river and the motorway, the project will also encompass the extension of the riverside park.
Construction of Arbre Blanc is scheduled for July 2015 and expected to complete by December 2017, while Moussavi's Jardins de la Lironde is set to start on site this year. The brief for all 12 was to design a "modern folly" that references the eighteenth-century chateaux built by wealthy merchants around Montpellier.