The south of France is known for its endless beaches, nineteenth century architecture, lush greenery, and monuments to its storied history. For nearly a decade, Le Festival des Architectures Vives (Festival of Lively Architecture) has been infusing contemporary architecture into the staid Southern French landscape through the creation of an array of artful temporary pavilions. Beginning in 2006 and 2013 respectively, the towns of Montpellier and La Grande Motte have played host to a series of structures designed to animate historical segments of the two cities. Founded with a mission to celebrate the seminal work of burgeoning architects, the festival aims to produce meaningful and interactive works designed to activate the historic centres of the two ageing cities.
Explore the bizarre and inspired installations of Le Festival des Architectures Vives after the break.
Winner of the annual Super Skyscrapers competition, Tommaso Bernabò Silorata’s “Skyframe” is a proposal for a skyscraper in Paris featuring a hotel, business areas and rooftop pool. Despite its status as one of the world’s fastest changing cities, Paris has severe restrictions on its skyline to preserve its existing landscape. Skyscrapers are discouraged in its urban core, an issue addressed in this year’s Super Skyscraper competition. The first place winner, Skyframe, creates a void between the two towers, framing the Parisian skyline, and creating an ethereal swimming experience for occupants on the roof-level pool.
"If you only think in architectural terms, only architecture will come out." - Wolf Prix
Inspired by space suits, Formula One circuits, and many other "mind expanding machines," Wolf D. Prix of Coop Himmelb(l)au explains the thought process that went behind their design of the Musée des Confluences in Lyon, France. With spiraling ramps and bridges throughout, the museum allows visitors to explore the space "freely," despite the constraints of gravity, and, in a sense, "conquer space." Read on for Spirit of Space's full interview with Prix.
Opened in January 2015, the Philharmonie de Paris was designed by Jean Nouvel, though he later distanced himself from the project. The concert hall, a 2400 seat venue, seeks to "invent a model all its own," according to the Philharmonie de Paris website. It breaks from the pack of concert halls by mathematically creating a more intimate space -- "the distance between conductor and the farthest spectator is only 32 metres (compared to 48 metres at the Salle Pleyel for a smaller audience)." The architect worked with various acoustic experts to "develop a bold system of cantilevered balconies and floating clouds, combining envelopment, intimacy and spaciousness." Here we see the project as photographed by Danica O. Kus. Read on for the full set.