Sou Fujimoto creates timber tower French vineyard

The Japanese architect spearheads revamp of Bordeaux as it opens a high speed train link with Paris
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Canopia by Sou Fujimoto and Laisné Roussel
Canopia by Sou Fujimoto and Laisné Roussel

By July 2017 the train from Paris to Bordeaux will take just two hours. It's hoped that this high-speed rail link will boost the southern French city, bringing increased jobs and investment to a region that's just starting to take off. To this end, Bordeaux’s authorities are overseeing a huge modernization programme around the city’s railway station.

Central to this plan is a new, verdant, eco-friendly development designed by the influential Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto and Parisian firm Laisné Roussel. It's called Canopia – a portmanteau of tree canopy and utopia – and it coprises four, 50-metre timber towers covered in vines. The structures, which will be created using the wood from silver fir and spruce trees along with slightly sturdier beams of glued, laminated timber, will house 199 dwellings, as well as shops, restaurants and plenty of gardens.

 

Canopia by Sou Fujimoto and Laisné Roussel
Canopia by Sou Fujimoto and Laisné Roussel

Indeed Canopia  places huge emphasis on greenery and outdoor living. Every apartment will have at least one balcony, the entire development will be surrounded modest strips of parkland, and each tower will be topped with a variety of gardens.

 

Canopia by Sou Fujimoto and Laisné Roussel
Canopia by Sou Fujimoto and Laisné Roussel

These will include horticultural, viticultural and agricultural areas, with vegetable allotments, children’s playgrounds and, of course, this being one of the most famous wine-exporting cities in the world, grape vines. Each of the rooftop gardens will be linked, with walkways stretching between Canopia’s towers. It looks as if these walkways will be wooden too, which may worry timid visitors. They should bear in mind that Fujimoto made his name creating earthquake-resistant Japanese buildings, following the Kobe earthquake of 1995. 

 

For more on the development go here; for greater insight into one of the great minds behind it, order our Sou Fujimoto monograph.


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