The building that grows

Montpellier - France

The Building that Grows is a rare encounter between architect and developer in the field of desires. The desire was for something different, material, purposeful, pleasurable, ephemeral and meaningful.

 The study of the balcony was a key part of the project. There are "balcony-gardens" to dine in with many friends, "balcony-cabins" perched among the trees for more intimate encounters, "balcony-lookouts" to curiously explore the foliage of the treetops, and "balcony-terraces" for reflection and contemplation. The project could have been called “the balcony in all its forms" but instead it was named "the building that grows."

One morning, when handling rocks, chicken wire , and concrete, we invented a living skin. It had to grow; to sprout. We put bags of potting soil and plants behind the stones. We watered it with organic fertilizer. It was seeded by mountain climbers. Then we installed an automatic irrigation system on the façade.

The building grows. Slowly. Its skin has become a kind of mini-ecosystem. The water collects in the interstices, algae forms and then dies, mosses grow and herbs colonize the resulting compost. Scattered, physical traces reflect these transformations.


 This project was used in a campaign for architectural quality by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication.

Collection du Centre Pompidou

Mies Van Der Rohe awards


PROGRAM 67 apartments, 47 parking places


Client Michel Troncin Team Maison Edouard François, GREEN & HUNT, Verdier (structure)


Area 5 200 M² Net Floor Area Budget 4,8 M € Schedule DELIVERY 2000






ZAC Antigone

Rue du Moulin de Semalen

34267 Montpellier