The hill of Montabo looms over the city of Cayenne and provides a dramatic backdrop for an architectural project which addresses the raw and unremitting power of nature. The winning competition entry by OUALALOU + CHOI derives from a dual strategy to conserve the natural environment and to protect the building from an undesirable degree of the jungle’s encroachment. The project preserves as much of the natural hilltop as possible, transforming it into a public space by creating a park at the crown of the hill. Thus, the highest point in the city becomes a part of the public realm. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The building acts as a pincer which attaches itself to the sides of the hill, maintaining a minimal footprint and hovering above the natural landscape. On a site where the vegetation grows at a visibly rapid rate, architecture must be defensive in order to battle against the growth of the jungle.
By lifting the buildings above the natural canopy line, these suspended volumes float just above the dense mat of vegetation. The floating structures provide occupants with the unique experience of living between the treetops and the sky.