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.
From the beginning, the project faced many obstacles – the maximum height was restricted to 18 meters, 30% of the ground level was required to be green space and the “prospect” law in France restricted the angle of the building so as not to impede sunlight to neighboring buildings. By twisting and pulling the structure on itself, large terraces and balconies wrap around the main structure, negotiating these obstacles. The service core at the centre of the structure allows for a flexible floor plan: 1-4 apartments can be built per floor. Sun-path mapping generated a façade alignment which allows ample daylight into each apartment.
The project pays homage to classical architecture: the terraces are inspired by its “in-between spaces” and the façade uses materials reminiscent of classic, Roman columns. By pigmenting concrete with local sand, Le Twist follows the sandy yellow colour palette of Montpellier, a technique that is both cost-effective and aesthetically pleasing. Columns at street level act as sun filters and provide privacy from neighbouring buildings. A vegetable patch is available for residents year round, and an enclosed garden will house a restaurant for both residents and the public.