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URBAN AGENCY's Luxury Apartment Design "Twists" French Planning Law

Designed by URBAN AGENCY and BET Satge, Le Twist is set to be a series of 10 luxury apartments with a ground floor restaurant that opens onto a semi-public garden. Commissioned in 2013, the architects were asked to re-evaluate an existing proposal for Montpellier, France. By sliding and twisting each storey, the firm was able "to comply with and 'twist' French planning law," gaining an extra 40% of floor space.

FAKT Creates a Floating Metal “Cloudscape” in Montpellier

FAKT, an up-and-coming studio based out of Berlin and Zurich, has created an architectural installation for the Festival des Architectures Vives, which uses perforated aluminum sheets to produce a cloudscape. Sponsored by metalworking companies Karl Dieringer and AMAG Austria Metall, the exhibition explores aluminum's material properties and its ability to create new forms.

Cloudscape Surface Contours. Image © Giulio Boem An Interior View of the Exhibition. Image © Giulio Boem Visitors Looking inside Cloudscape. Image © Giulio Boem Top of Cloudscape. Image © Giulio Boem

Scape / NAS architecture

  • Architects: NAS architecture
  • Location: Montpellier, France
  • Architect in Charge: Hadrien BALALUD DE SAINT JEAN, Guillaume GIRAUD, Johan LAURE
  • Client: Festival of Lively Architecture (FAV)
  • Area: 30.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2015
  • Photographs: photoarchitecture

© photoarchitecture © photoarchitecture © photoarchitecture © photoarchitecture

32 Housing / MDR Architectes

  • Architects: MDR Architectes
  • Location: Montpellier, France
  • Architects in Charge: Sancie Matte, Arnaud Rousseau, Frédéric Devaux
  • Team Design: Frédéric Ganichot, Géraldine Savelli
  • Area: 2800.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2014
  • Photographs: Mathieu Ducros

© Mathieu Ducros © Mathieu Ducros © Mathieu Ducros © Mathieu Ducros

Maison des Aires / Cabinet-Cabinet Architectures

© Yoan Claveau de Lima © Yoan Claveau de Lima © Yoan Claveau de Lima © Yoan Claveau de Lima

Marc Mimram Reveals Design for New TGV Station in Montpellier

Paris-based architecture and engineering firm Marc Mimram has been appointed to design a new TGV station in Montpellier, France. To be completed in late 2017, the station is intended to serve up to 3.5 million passengers a year by 2030, connecting with the existing Perpignan to Barcelona line, ultimately reducing the travel time between Paris and Barcelona.

The station's striking roof structure is composed of five 8 metre wide pleated shells, made from a fibre reinforced, ultra high performance concrete (UHPC). The high performance concrete combined with the pleated form allows the shells to be just 5-6 centimetres thick, with glass panes embedded directly into the concrete during casting.

Mirrored Seafront Pavilion Among Seven Installations at Festival Des Architectures Vives

Each summer, the French cities of Montpellier and La Grande Motte host Le Festival Des Architectures Vives (Festival of Lively Architecture). These twin festivals seek to raise awareness about architecture among the public, and to give needed exposure to the work of up-and-coming designers. In the process, they also draw attention to previously unknown places in the two cities—in Montpellier, many of the private courtyards in the city are opened to the public specifically for the festival. In La Grande Motte, the exhibition weaves its way through the city center, a site designated as “Heritage of the 20th Century” due to the prevalence of works designed by architect Jean Balladur. This year’s festivals featured a total of 18 temporary installations. Read more about the festivals, and view photos, after the break.

Marion Moustey and Alex Arcens Onde Sensuelle- La Grande Motte. Image © photoarchitecture, Courtesy of Paul Kozlowski NAS Architecture's Breath Box- La Grande Motte. Image © photoarchitecture, Courtesy of Paul Kozlowski Lea Corba and Nicolas Baudru's Sensualite Invisible- La Grande Motte. Image © photoarchitecture, Courtesy of Paul Kozlowski Fakir's Sens Dessous Sen Dessous- La Grande Motte. Image © photoarchitecture, Courtesy of Paul Kozlowski

Sou Fujimoto-Led Team Designs Tree-Inspired Housing Tower for Montpellier

The City of Montpellier has chosen Sou Fujimoto Architects, Nicolas Laisné Associés and Manal Rachdi Oxo architects’ “White Tree (L’Arbre Blanc)” as winner of the "Architectural Folie of the 21st Century" competition. Inspired by the city’s tradition of outdoor living, and the efficient properties of a tree, the mixed-use residential tower will feed off locally available natural resources as it rises 17-stories and connects the new and old districts of Montpellier. 

BIG Selected to Design Human Body Museum in France

BIG has been announced as the winner of an international design competition for the new Cité du Corps Humain (Museum of the Human Body) in Montpellier. Rooted in the city’s long medical history and world renowned medical school, which dates back to the 10th century, the 7,800 sqm museum will “explore the human body from an artistic, scientific and societal approach through cultural activities, interactive exhibitions, performances and workshops.”

It’s design, orchestrated by eight undulating forms which “weave together” to create an underlying continuous space, will serve as a mediator between nature and city - Charpak Park and the Montpellier city hall. Stunning views, access to daylight and critical internal connections will all be revealed by the Museum’s shifting form. 

Read on for more from the architect...

Jean-Claude Carrière Theatre / A+ Architecture

  • Architects: A+ Architecture
  • Location: Montpellier, France
  • Area: 2620.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photographs: Jean-Yves Gilbert

© Jean-Yves Gilbert © Jean-Yves Gilbert © Jean-Yves Gilbert © Jean-Yves Gilbert

Version Rubis Housing / Jean-Paul Viguier Architecture

  • Architects: Jean-Paul Viguier Architecture
  • Location: Avenue du Mondial 98, 34000 Montpellier, France
  • Structure Engineering firm: André Verdier
  • Fluids Engineering firm: ENR Concept
  • Acoustician: Socotec
  • Certification: BBC Effinergie
  • Area: 6000.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Takuji Shimmura

© Takuji Shimmura © Takuji Shimmura © Takuji Shimmura © Takuji Shimmura

Farshid Moussavi Architecture Wins Jardins de la Lironde Competition

This unconventional stack of shifting floor plates forms what will soon be a new, 36-unit apartment block in French city of Montpellier. City officials released the news this week, naming Farshid Moussavi Architecture as winner of the Jardins de la Lironde competition.

The 11-story tower’s unique shape will offer residents expansive balconies with coastal views and a ground level restaurant. Construction is expected to begin in 2014, marking the first phase of a master plan to construct 12 new buildings in the Port Marianne district.

More images and plans of the Jardins de la Lironde tower after the break...

Jean-Claude Carrière Theatre Proposal / A+ Architecture

The renowned Montpellier architecture firm A+ Architecture has been entrusted with the project of building a new site at the domaine d’O, the Jean-Claude Carrière theatre. A unique and environmentally friendly project, the project is based on a global environmental approach aiming for general energy efficiency and for environmental quality standards. Other than the slab that supports it, the entire structure could be dismantled and rebuilt on a different site. The unique design is enhanced by a light wooden lozenge structure recovering the entire building. More images and architects' description after the break.

Reframe / Paul Scales and Atelier Kit

Created by Paul Scales and Atelier Kit for the 7th annual ‘Le Festival des Architectures Vives ’ in Montpellier, France, Reframe explores the theme of ‘surprise’ through the creation of an object that reframes the relation of the visitor to the space, the historic architecture and the other visitors. The festival is comprised of an architectural walking tour through the historic city center where heritage sites are opened up to modern architecture. Visitors experience a shift from the position of observer to observed, from control to controlled and willingly or not, become engaged in a game of surprise and be surprised. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Gymnase Clapiers / MDR Architectes

  • Architects: MDR Architectes
  • Location: Montpellier, France
  • Design Team: Sancie Matte Devaux, Frédéric Devaux, Arnaud Rousseau
  • Area: 900.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Benoit Wherlé

© Benoit Wherlé © Benoit Wherlé © Benoit Wherlé © Benoit Wherlé