Visionary 'tree tower' to be built in Montpellier

L'Arbre Blanc by Sou Fujimoto Architects + Nicolas Laisné Associés + Manal Rachdi OXO Architects...

L'Arbre Blanc by Sou Fujimoto Architects + Nicolas Laisné Associés + Manal Rachdi OXO Architects (Sou Fujimoto Architects + Nicolas Laisné Associés + Manal Rachdi OXO Architects + Rendering by RSI-Studio)

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, Last Updated: 11:27 AM ET

A futuristic cone-shaped tower featuring balconies sprouting in all directions is set to dominate the skyline in Montpellier, France, after winning a competition to become the city's second "architectural folly of the 21st century."

Named L'Arbre Blanc ("the white tree"), the 17-story building will feature a curved body inspired by the form of a trunk, punctuated by a canopy of balconies fanning out like leaves. The multipurpose development will house apartments, an art gallery, a restaurant and a bar with panoramic views.

Designed by Sou Fujimoto Architects, Nicolas Laisné Associates and Manal Rachdi OXO Architects, L'Arbre Blanc is the result of a cross-cultural creative fusion between Japan and the Mediterranean, designed to embody the aesthetic of a modern Montpellier. The trio has worked with developers Promeo Patrimoine and Evolis promotions to develop a concept that is both modern and organic-looking, a bold architectural statement that nonetheless defers to its surroundings.

The building will demonstrate both European and Asian influences, blurring the boundaries between interior and exterior spaces to capitalize on Montpellier's outdoor lifestyle. In what the design team refers to as "tomorrow's housing trend," apartment buyers will be able to choose from a list of various floor plans and settings to suit their preferences.

Despite its somewhat imposing name, the design team insists that the project will be widely accessible, claiming: "A beat integral to the urban song, the building is destined as a public high-rise built for every soul in Montpellier."

L'Arbre Blanc is the second in a series of twelve constructions planned to regenerate the vibrant Mediterranean city as part of "Les 'folies' architecturales du XXIème siècle." Construction is scheduled to begin in July 2015.


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