The “Building that Grows” in Montpellier
It's called the Building that Grows, and it could be compared to a dream, a wish that comes true. It's something different, which we are not accustomed to, it is extremely material but at the same time loaded with symbolic meanings. We are in Montpellier, southern France. The Edouard François’ Maison thinks and designs this building for houses that will become part of the collections of the Pompidou Centre. The Maison architecture reflects the trends of contemporary society: sustainable development, the use of local materials as well as the conservation and valorisation of the existing buildings. These are all recurring themes in the work of the French firm that continues to investigate new forms of sustainability, new "green" habitat.
In this case, the choice was towards the use of stones as wall claddings and to design balconies or small wooden terraces that sprout from the sides of the building by discontinuing the linearity. The study of the balconies was a key part of the project: we are the "balcony-gardens" to dine outdoors and to accommodate many friends; the "balconies-cabins" that remain perched in the trees for more intimate gatherings, then the "balconies-towers" that, as little medieval towers, allow you to explore your surroundings, the foliage of the tree tops, in which the building is well integrated. Finally, there are the "balcony-terraces" entirely dedicated to reflection and contemplation to live in perfect harmony with nature while staying in town. The name of the building, however, is tied to the outside walls. As a living skin, a real intervention of manipulation was built by François Maison. With the idea that it would grow and sprout, that the building would slowly change its appearance according to the laws of nature, sacks of potting soil, stones and small plants were combined with iron cables as support. Some climbers have watered with compost and planted along the surface, until the installation of an automatic sprinkler system on the façade. Just like a small eco-system, the Building that Grows continues to change and to change depending on the form you create, mosses and plants that grow and then die, creating a constantly evolving composition. www.edouardfrancois.com