NANTES – ‘We believe that beautiful housing accommodations are bright, well-oriented and offer wide views,’ explain the architects at a/LTA whilst describing their recently-completed towering residential block. The French architectural firm’s project is the latest addition to ZAC du Pré Gauchet, a development area in the city of Nantes. A key vision for the development is to provide ecological public spaces generating an urban, yet green landscape for inhabitants.

The new residential tower has embraced this green initiative, with the notion of nature and growth deep-rooted in the building strategy. The firm began the design process by deconstructing the workings of a greenhouse, to discover how to create a towering residence which could sustain flora and fauna. A salient design was developed, where floors protrude and concave to form a rigid, yet tactile façade. Through the implementation of solar studies, the disjointed levels allow the interior to capture the sun throughout the day. The double-layered glass skin attains the sun’s light and warmth to create a suitable environment for plant growth. Glazed rooms and balconies wrapping the building to provide areas which residents can utilise as horticultural spaces, ultimately giving the appearance of a vast vertical garden.

The now sparse structure will take many years to cultivate to the level of greenery envisioned by the architects and thus only time can tell the true effects of the project.

Photos courtesy of Stéphane Chalmeau

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