Walk in utopias

13 November 2017

Overheating of the planet, technological revolution, urban densification ... It is urgent to dream with open eyes! In the reveries of bricks, wood, green of some architects.

No wall, just a couch that deploys in multiple applications, like a smartphone explains its creator Tom Dixon *. "Tomato +" by Boffi hides a mini vegetable garden under glass. A silhouette grazes the walls of glass on which are sucked "window socket *", autonomous electrical outlets. A hand touches the top of the invited trees inside. A spiral staircase seems to climb indefinitely to the sky. Head in the clouds. Be on a cloud. Promise of visionaries.

Tour L'Arbre blanc à Montpellier par les architectes Sou Fujimoto, Manal Rachdi et les cabinets NL*A et RSI, multi-programmatique (bureaux,logements, galeries d'art, bar panoramique) s'inscrit en prolongement d'un parc entre l'ancien et le nouveau Montpellier - surfaces modulablesen fonction du bien-vivre de chacun, en chantier.

Tour The White Tree in Montpellier by the architects Sou Fujimoto, Manal Rachdi and the NL * A and RSI cabinets, multi-programmatic (offices, housing, art galleries, panoramic bar) is an extension of a park between the old and the new Montpellier - modular surfaces according to the well-being of each one, under construction.


The nomadic house. The very notion of a house breaks out. Ikea's annual "Life at home" survey of 12,000 people around the world reveals that for only 7% of respondents, a "home" is a geographical location, 19% a place to keep things liked and for 49% of the inhabitants of Shanghai, their computer. To this traveling population, no desire for property, meet new forms of housing Muji designs a transportable "pop-up" house, rising in record time. The English designer Ross Lovegrove explores tomorrow with his top-spinning house oriented according to the position of the sun and posing anywhere. This "generator house" sponsored by the Austrian crystal maker Swarovski could be realized. Not unlike the UFO houses of the 1960s, a decade of utopia of all plastics.

Solar Seed, une maison nomade autosuffisante en énergie, un projet du designer anglais Ross Lovegrove.

Solar Seed, a self-sufficient energy nomad house, a project by English designer Ross Lovegrove.

Ross Lovegrove

Urban nature. Utopia is not dead! A title in manifesto of the first edition of the Biennial of Architecture of Lyon 2016: "facing crises we need to invent new models, other reports to the environment, the establishment of a governance actually participative, because to abandon utopia would lead to renouncing our aspirations for social justice ". Many architects today are working on these different notions. Vincent Callebaut talks about archibiotic. From biennales to universal exhibitions, he multiplies the presentation of his projects: the Montparnasse tower in community orchards, autonomous constructions in energy, in culture, in service. Its first spiral tower, the Tao Zhu Yin Yuan Tower in Taipei, planted with 23,000 trees cleans the air by absorbing CO2. Manal Rachdi, founder of the architectural firm OXO, is also one of the pioneers of this new generation. His project "1,000 trees" conceived with the architect Sou Fujimoto erases the border that constitutes the device between Paris and Greater Paris, covering it with a structure mixing shops, hotel, sports centers, student housing and houses in a forest on the roof. "Utopias stick at the time, today the architectural utopias have changed, what we are looking for is the reduction of our impact on the planet, a minimalist utopia, the reduction of our displacements by the concentration at the same place of the work, housing, catering, urban farms too. " His tower The White Tree in Montpellier looks like hanging gardens. "I advocate an architecture that surrounds itself with nature, to the interior apartment its exterior pendant."

La capitale, dans 35 ans, imaginée par l'architecte Vincent Callebaut.

The capital, in 35 years, designed by the architect Vincent Callebaut.

Vincent Caillebaut

"1 000 arbres" sur le périphérique, projet retenu dans le cadre de "Réinventer Paris" de Manal Rachdi et de Sou Fujimoto, logements, commerces,bureaux, une rue des chefs... recouvrant le périphérique reliant Paris à Neuilly-sur-Seine.

"1,000 trees" on the ring road, a project retained as part of "Reinventing Paris" of Manal Rachdi and Sou Fujimoto, housing, shops, offices, a street of the chefs ... covering the ring road linking Paris to Neuilly-sur- Seine.


Adaptable and modular. Manal Rachdi claims an archaeologist's approach, that of leaving the place, its history, its identity. The concept Mini Living Urban Cabin, studied by Sam Jacob Studio in London, presented at the London Design Festival, also questions the meaning of local. It is a question of proposing small modular spaces inside (to favor a creative use) and in reflection outside with the English architecture, to accentuate the typicity of city. The architect Stéphane Malka adapts to the environment, be it the hills of Malibu or the Parisian roofs. He envisions poetic excrescences reinventing the existing. "A return to the sources of architecture, a dialogue with the mountain and the tradition of troglodyte habitat, or taking into account the evolution of the city". "My guidelines: Thinking the City, dressing Architecture by developing 21st century alternatives in a humanist, positivist and ecological perspective". "The utopias of today are often the realities of tomorrow: between the two, there is only time passing," concludes the architect writer Emmanuel Ventura. 

Focus du toit de "1000 arbres", maisons dans une forêt avecvue sur la tour Eiffel.

Focus of the roof of "1000 trees", houses in a forest with view on the Eiffel tower.


Tree in the house, projet du Studio A. Masow à Moscou.

Tree in the house, Studio A. Masow project in Moscow.


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