TEHRAN.(Iranart) - F rench architect and urbanist, Christian de Portzamparc, 73, has recently unveiled one of his projects, a new building in the city of Montpellier, France.
Iranian-British architect Farshid Mousavi, 52, was in the project’s team that designed the building like a wavering tower and named it ‘Folie Divine’.
Built on a hilltop, its curvy balconies dominte a spectacular panorama of trees and buildings, Harvard University Graduate School of Design (Gsd.harvard.edu) announced.
Folie Divine is the first of 12 ‘Folies’ planned by the City of Montpellier on its brownfield sites, as a continuation of a history dating back to the 18th century, when local aristocrats and the bourgeois commissioned architects to build spectacular grand mansions in garden settings, such as the castles of Flaugergues, de la Mogère and de la Mosson that are still an integral part of Montpellier’s architectural identity.
In French and English gardens, the idea of Folie has a longer history in which a playful structure with no practical purpose would be placed within a garden or landscape to elicit pleasure, luxury and wealth. As an idea, the Folie is beyond practicality.
Folie Divine is located in Les Jardins de la Lironde, an urban development area on the periphery of Montpellier. It is designed as a nine-storey (34-meter) tower accommodating 36 apartments and a small restaurant on the ground floor.
The shape of each floor is designed in a way that the balcony of each unit is hidden from the view of that of neighboring units without a wall.
The irregular curvilinear shape of the building has the extra advantage of self-shading parts of the exterior envelope against the strong Montpellier summer sun, whereas the curvature on the north side is more gradual, it is intentionally more acute on the southern exposure.
Mousavi is an internationally acclaimed architect and professor in practice of architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. She has designed the Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland (2012), its installation at the 13th Architecture Biennale in Venice (2012) and the Victoria Beckham Flagship Store in London (2014).
Folie Divine in Montpellier is one of her current projects. Others are residential complexes in the La Défense district of Paris and an office complex in London.
She has been part of many award-winning projects, including the Yokohama International Cruise Terminal and the Spanish Pavilion at the Aichi International Expo in Japan; the John Lewis Department Store and Cineplex in Leicester, the UK; the South-East Coastal Park in Barcelona, and the Carabanchel Social Housing in Madrid, Spain, as well as the Meydan Retail Complex in Istanbul, Turkey.