The Future Of Parisian Housing Could Be A Floating Village Shrouded In Trees

The Future Of Parisian Housing Could Be A Floating Village Shrouded In Trees Guest Contributor February 21, 2016 Technology No Comments

by Nicole Mormann | © Take Part

In a city recognized for its iconic monuments—the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame de Paris, and the Palais du Louvre, to name a few—a group of eco-conscious architects are aiming to construct yet another eye-catching structure in France’s capital.

Its designers—Parisian firm OXO Architectes and Tokyo-based Sou Fujimoto—call the Thousand Trees building project a “floating village in the middle of a forest” that essentially looks like an inverted pyramid with a rooftop comprised of, well, a thousand planted trees.

It will feature single-family homes and apartments, offices, a hotel, restaurants, and a day care and recreational park, not to mention a tree-covered pedestrian bridge over a nearby highway. But make no mistake: This isn’t just a crowd-pleaser. It’s beneficial to the environment too.

“It’s a response to global warming,” Manal Rachdi, founder of OXO Architectes, told Fast Company. “We know now by experiments that normal rooftops can really lead to a leak of energy. But when we have rooftops planted with greenery or trees, we save energy. It’s becoming a trend now because it’s another way to consume less energy and protect buildings.”

However, Parisians will have to wait another couple of years to see the green-topped innovation, as construction begins in two years with a projected completion of 2021 or 2022.

In the meantime, here’s a look at the design that could be “the symbol of New Paris” and some of its suggested eco-friendly features.

Fighting Smog, a Thousand Trees at a Time

While Paris may have hosted last year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference, the city itself has been dealing with its own series of environmental hazards.

For a brief time in March, Paris topped the charts as having the worst smog of any city in the world. In an attempt to fight these pollution spikes, officials implemented a car ban on particularly smog-filled days, taking the “only vehicles with odd-numbered license plates on one day, even-numbered every other day” approach.

With their design, developers see their “living ecosystem” structure as a solution to the city’s pollution, because trees can filter smoggy air.

(Photo: Manal Rachdi OXO Architectes + Sou Fujimoto Architects/

Eco-Bridging the Gap

The building will be situated nearby the city’s beltway, the highway that connects central Paris and the suburbs. Tasked with the challenge of erasing this barrier between the two places in an eco-friendly way, the architects came up with the design for a tree-covered pedestrian bridge. This way, those who want to get from the suburbs to the city can walk across the bridge instead of driving across the regular highway.

(Photo: Manal Rachdi OXO Architectes + Sou Fujimoto Architects/

Shaped for Sustainability

The designers say the building’s inverted pyramid structure, though unconventional, decreases the carbon footprint of the building on the ground.

The shape provides varying exposures to sunlight and wind, which supply power to the offices and other areas of the structure. The slanted shape of the design creates natural shade for areas not directly atop the building. The direct exposure to sunlight on the roof allows plants and trees to thrive in the urban habitat as well as supply power to the building’s solar panels.

(Photo: Manal Rachdi OXO Architectes + Sou Fujimoto Architects/

Energy-Efficient for Everyone

The project aims to use three alternative energy sources that will reduce overall energy consumption: solar, wind, and geothermal energy. Solar panels will be used to supply power, as will wind turbines. The building’s unique location next to the highway is said to provide a high concentration of southwest and northeastern winds. The geothermal energy will come from heat pumps and will be attached to Paris’ urban heating system.

(Photo: Manal Rachdi OXO Architectes + Sou Fujimoto Architects/

Taking Environmental Education to a Higher-Rise Level

Children are at the “heart of the project,” according to the architects. Kids can play on the indoor playground and take workshops related to biodiversity, such as beekeeping, gardening, and botany classes.

For adult residents and those passing through, the park also hosts a series of educational classes and workshops on biodiversity.

(Photo: Manal Rachdi OXO Architectes + Sou Fujimoto Architects/

Cooling Down the City Climate

The designers of Thousand Trees say the landscape and natural elements of the project could lead to lower temperatures of more than 3 degrees Celsius in the city. Higher temperatures as a result of climate change have been affecting cities all around the world, Paris included. This past summer was said to be the hottest on record.

Though Paris is typically about 20 degrees Celsius, or 68 degrees Fahrenheit, a reduction in temperatures could be another boost in the city’s attempt to fight climate change. In addition to reducing pollution, trees give off a cooling effect that helps regulate rising city temperatures.

(Photo: Manal Rachdi OXO Architectes + Sou Fujimoto Architects/


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