LA Tour Du Montparnasse

Final Project _ BA Architecture, Oxford Brookes - 2010 - President's Medal final 10

This project explores the symbiotic relationships of gardens and offices through the narrative of a mysterious expedition into the filmic spaces as experienced by a girl named Ophelia. Sited in the brutalistic Montparnasse Office Tower in Paris (commonly described as one of the ugliest office towers in Europe), Ophelia explores a hidden fantasy world of living willow trees concealed within the void spaces of the office tower.

 

 

Ophelia’s exploration is driven by the prophecies from her dreams that foretold fragments of curious spaces depicting a world inhabited with spirited trees and wonderful architectural forms. She was lead on into a mystical journey to eventually discover portals and entry points hidden within the office interior that allowed her to mediate into the fantasy world.

In the fantasy world, Ophelia discovered a range of surreal environments, including ornamental grottos, Indian bridges grown naturally by willow trees, hovering sky gardens, melodious trumpets that collected wind and rain, beautiful lighting sculptures, and a gigantic breathing plant stem.

Ophelia documented the surreal environments she discovers in her sketchbook and constructed a CAD/CAM model to help analyse and understand her dreamworld. Gradually she decoded the architect’s drawings excavated from the fantasy world and they revealed the actual designs for a highly technological tower that is rooted with ecological concerns for Paris! The gardens are installed into the tower to minimise the urban heat island effect, the circulation structures are made of real willow trees, the trumpet forms are rain water harvesting devices. Her experiences were no longer a dream.

Finally, as the building develops and grows over time, the proposed life force thrives and more and more of the existing building is transformed. The use of space within the tower changes dramatically; areas towards the top of the tower become residential harnessing a strong use of cross programming whilst the central area becomes a community driven ecological habitat. In her final drawing, Ophelia speculates on the tower some years into the future. More consumed than ever and with it's inhabitants powered on biophilia the tower is explodes with luscious vegetation and continues its growth.