Biot - Competition


This project to erect office buildings and apartments in the municipality of Biot, near Nice is part of the larger “Sophia Antipolis” development aimed at creating a high-technology and industrial centre in southern France. The project’s creators adopted a very bold approach to the competition, seeking to develop the principles of a hyper-ecological architecture with the least possible impact on the site and incorporating water recovery and natural air conditioning. The design of the concrete and wood buildings take their inspiration from the trees. To achieve this the groundworks are kept to a minimum to preserve the character of the natural site, further enriched by greenery that is indigenous to this type of climate. Furthermore, the form and positioning of the buildings are based on a study of the wind and sun. As a metaphor of a treehouse, each building develops around a kind of central tree, rooted in the ground that crosses the patio and embraces the habitable space with its branches. Representing a poetic vision of a welcoming and protective nature, the tree has multiple functions: it houses the vertical circulations that permit the distribution of the various floors; provides solar protection for the building; permits the collection of rainwater, and supports the various solar technologies (photovoltaic and ECS). The office structure is based on a system of construction that involves prefabricated wooden elements that are assembled on site. These are extended with passageways and a brise-soleil grid, with cables installed that permit the propagation of climbing plants. The plants are not only part of the natural solar protection for the comfort of the inhabitants, but also help integrate the buildings into the landscape.

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